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Research project

ShaPE - The Social Partners as shapers and makers of Social Europe: discovering foundations and futures

The ShaPE project will examine the role social partners have played in treaty-making and law-making for social Europe. The project is led by Professor Claire Kilpatrick, co-Director of the Academy of European Law.

ShaPE will deepen our understanding of the role played by trade unions, employer organisations and EU institutions in making and shaping Social Europe until now. This new knowledge will help us reflect on what roles they should play in meeting current large-scale challenges, most notably green, digital and demographic transitions as well as the objectives of EU 'open strategic autonomy’ and resilience.

Social Europe’s foundations will be explored through innovative archival and multidisciplinary analysis of EU Treaty-making and law-making, providing a meta-archive and public history digital exhibition to serve as a template and anchor for future research. These foundations will be discussed and disseminated with the aim to bridge multiple perspectives:

  • old and newer Member States;
  • old and newer generations of social partner representatives;
  • contributions from history, law and industrial relations research and various methods and tools for researching Social Europe; and
  • insights from social partners and project partners in academia and the policy community.

During the course of the project, ShaPE’s researchers will produce academic analysis as well practice-oriented reports and proposals to update the EU Treaties to enable the social partners to meet future challenges.

ShaPE is funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the authors only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them. 

The team

Group members

External Partners

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