European Social Pacts Policy (the Netherlands, Ireland and Italy)

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Abstract

The main aims of this article are: a presentation of the theoretical framework for the analysis of the social pacts policy (taking into consideration that social pacts are phenomena which are very difficult to clearly define) and the presentation of the practice of this policy in chosen European countries (including three cases of “using” social pacts for the shaping of public policy, taking into consideration the fact that the form and content of social pacts vary from country to country). Social pacts are very special kinds of agreements between the representatives of the state and the interest groups. They can include various issues of social and economic policies, but they can also be used for solving economic difficulties and sustaining progress, including the development of the state. Social Pacts Policy is useful for a weak state and interest groups, which as a result of it can have an influence on public policy. Although, its application is not a facile process of agreement between the state and the social partners, it can have various forms and can include different goals of social and economic policies. Similarly, the range, institutionalisation and length of social pacts are not the same in all countries. Moreover, as the article indicates it refers to the economic, cultural and social circumstances, which can also cause the disappearance of the social pacts mechanism.

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