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Calling the tune without paying the piper? Social policy regulation: The role of the commission in european community social policy

Cram, Laura (1993) Calling the tune without paying the piper? Social policy regulation: The role of the commission in european community social policy. Policy and Politics, 21 (2). pp. 135-146. ISSN 0305-5736

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Abstract

Regulatory policy is presently the principal form of European Community (EC) social policy legislation affecting European citizens. One possible explanation of this trend is that the Commission, far from being a neutral bureaucracy, has been an active force in pushing outward the frontiers of Community social policy. Expanding its skills, and learning from past experience, the Commission makes maximum use of its limited powers in the social sphere. One important aspect of the Commision's opportunistic role may be its ability to prepare the ground for future regulatory action. The relatively costless nature of regulatory policy-making, from the point of view of the Commission's budget, increasingly allows the Commission to call the proverbial tune without incurring the costs of paying the piper.