Europeanization of Social Policy - A Case of Parental Leave in Denmark and EU

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Lunds universitet/Europastudier

Sammanfattning: This paper examines social policy in the European Union with a specific focus on parental leave, in-cluding earmarked paternity leave. It traces the process of how the legislation of parental leave has gone through a process of Europeanization and through the decision-making process of the European Union, resulted in the Directive 2019/1158. Moreover, it aims at examining the Danish knowledge of the legislation, as well as the general awareness of the EU. In order to examine how legislation in the area of social policy has been Europeanized, two parts was outlined; first the process and understand-ing of Europeanization and second the role of EU according to Social policy and the European Pillar of Social Rights. The study is cross-disciplinary and relies therefore on methods and perspectives from both the world of humanities and the world of social science. Firstly, I used process tracing to outline how a European Commission proposal came into power to be a legal text (a directive). Sec-ondly, I performed 26 qualitative interviews to examine how Danes perceived the Europeanization of the legislation and to investigate their knowledge and opinion on the issue. The interviews included men and women in the ages 23 to 58, with varying professions. The data collection revealed that their opinion towards EU varies depending on the informants’ age, and their knowledge of the directive on parental leave varies depending on whether the informant has children or not. Furthermore, the analysis revealed that the informants in general are for the EU being a trade and economic union but are negative towards EU gaining powers in areas where the nation state previous was the leading political actor. In an exploration of the respondents' answers it became clear, that they implicitly argue against EU’s parental leave changes, since they contradict long-held societal norms and values connected to gender roles. It is moreover argued that Europeanization is in fact a two-level game, where the member states upload to the EU in the decision-making process and later download the policies in order to implement them in the member states existing policies.

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