RESEARCH AREA SOCIAL POLICY AND HEALTH POLICY
Up until now European Social Policy has tended to develop through ‘negative’ incentives, i.e. by way of accommodating to the implications of the internal market (in particular the free mobility of persons and services) and as a reaction to the crises of the (national) welfare state. Nation states and socio-economic interest groups organized nationally have thus slowly, albeit steadily, ceased to be the major or sole agenda-setters in social policy. Increasingly, however – and this will constitute the major challenge of the 21st century – for the demand is being levelled to articulate a coherent European Social Policy including a stance on the role of the state as regulator and, specifically, the extent to which the latter can continue to ‘correct’ the inequality arising from the operations of the free market. Future European Social Policy will have to consider the role of civil society in the process of European integration as well as the changing face of ‘inequality’, as new risk groups are emerging.
The ICCR Foundation has not been dealing with the core issues of European Social Policy so far. Rather, the institute has concentrated itself on very specific issues that are related to social policy. Among other topics, health issues, active ageing, territoriality and the provision of basic services were topics that are issues of social policies, and contribute to the debate on social policies in breaking issues down to the concrete. Relevant to this are public participation and the resolution of community conflicts as well.