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Jean Monnet Workshop on European Social Policy hosted at Bilkent

Jean Monnet Chair of the IR Department Assist. Prof. Dimitris Tsarouhas recently organized a Jean Monnet Workshop on European social policy. The workshop took place on 11th April with the attendance of prominent professors such as Paul Copeland from Queen Mary, University of London and Ayşe İdil Aybars from Middle East Technical University.
Presentations of professors followed with roundtable debates consisting of two sessions in the afternoon. Major themes of the workshop were key trends in European social policy, the current situation of Turkish social policy, and Euroscepticism from the perspective of the Union’s social policy demonstrated in Europe 2020.
The presentations were lively, informal, and critical of recent developments in the EU. Following a brief historical background of European social policy and distinctive approaches of different member states, Dr. Paul Copeland evaluated “Europe 2020” (Lisbon social policy strategy, launched in 2010) with a political sociology approach and from a critical point of view. The main reasons for his skepticism were historical developments, financial crisis, the construction of the target (Europe 2020), and eleven different definitions of poverty across the EU undermining the real objective. In her presentation, Prof. Aybars emphasized the dichotomy between the technical aspect of Turkey’s negotiations with the EU on social policy and employment policies, which has continued fairly smoothly over time, and the political nature of the negotiations which have suffered from a visible decline in trust between the Union and Turkey.