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THE SOCIAL POLICY CHALLENGES OF EUROPE 2020 IN THE EU CANDIDATE COUNTRIES: THE CASE OF CROATIA AND MACEDONIA

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Author(s): Maja Gerovska Mitev | Paul Stubbs

Journal: Journal of Comparative Politics
ISSN 1337-7477

Volume: 5;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 60;
Date: 2012;
Original page

ABSTRACT
This paper examines the social dimension of the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy in two EU candidate countries (Croatia and Macedonia). The text outlines both the positive attributes of the new Strategy and addresses criticisms it has received. The two countries analysed show diverging trends, but also face similar challenges, in relation to the incorporation of Europe 2020 indicators and targets in employment, education, and poverty and social inclusion. The new indicators and targets may promote greater influence of the European Union in the creation of social policy at national level. At the same time, there is a need to support candidate countries where there are gaps in statistical data for evidence-based policies, a lack of strategic capacity, significant fiscal constraints, and a lack of political will. The paper concludes by addressing implications in relation to the identification of the poor and impacts on social protection systems and overall public policies.
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