The UK out, Social Europe in? Rethinking EU social integration in the wake of Brexit
Keywords:Brexit, European Union, social integration, Social Europe, veto player
This article considers the impact of Brexit on the future of Social Europe. Through recourse to key moments in the history of European social integration, where Britain more often than not vehemently opposed any coming together, its role as an important veto player in EU social policy-making is established. With the UK set to leave the Union, the option for further social integration is no longer inconceivable. It is featured as one of the possible scenarios in the Reflection Paper on the Social Dimension of Europe, and recent developments, such as the European Pillar of Social Rights, together with its accompanying initiatives, appear to lay the groundwork towards that. The article concludes that, although the realisation of Social Europe is more likely post-Brexit, there are other Member States willing to take over the UK’s role and act as veto players on their own terms.