The Social Partners as shapers and makers of Social Europe: discovering foundations and futures (ShaPE) aims to pioneer a deeper understanding of the historical evolution of social partners’ roles in shaping Social Europe and to envision their future roles in tackling contemporary challenges. These challenges include green, digital, and demographic transitions, alongside the objectives of EU ‘open strategic autonomy’ and resilience. By exploring the foundations of Social Europe through innovative archival and multidisciplinary analysis of EU Treaty-making and law-making, ShaPE will establish a meta-archive and public history digital exhibition. These resources will serve as guiding lights for future research endeavors. 

In addition to delving into the past, ShaPE endeavors to bridge the gap between old and newer Member States, and between different generations of social partner representatives. It integrates diverse perspectives from history, law, and industrial relations, fostering discussions among academia, social partners, and policymakers.  

ShaPE’s research outputs will encompass academic analyses of social partners’ roles in Treaty-making and law-making, alongside reports and proposals aimed at equipping the EU Treaties to address emerging challenges effectively. 

The European Movement International is co-leading the Work Package on Dissemination and Communication and will strive, together with the EUI, to effectively disseminate the results of the project and engage stakeholders outside the project. Moreover, at month 24 the results of the ShaPE project will be disseminated to the relevant stakeholders, industrial relations actors, EU institutions, policymakers and civil society, through a one-day final conference in Brussels, organised by the EMI. 


ShaPE commences its mission by delving into archival analysis to reconstruct the historical roles of social partners, paving the way for adjustments necessary to navigate present and future challenges. 

  1. Through innovative archival analysis and multidisciplinary research, the project aims to decipher the foundations of Social Europe while reflecting on the evolving roles needed to confront modern challenges such as green and digital transitions, demographic shifts, and the pursuit of EU ‘open strategic autonomy’ and resilience. 
  2. By dissecting Treaty-making and law-making processes, ShaPE aims to produce a meta-archive and digital exhibition to guide future research and policymaking. 

Structured around three work packages, ShaPE brings together academia, social partners, and policymakers to conduct comprehensive research and facilitate information exchange. Through accessing archival sources and conducting multidisciplinary analysis, the project aims to unravel the roles of social partners in Treaty-making during pivotal periods like the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty era.  







This activity is co-funded by the European Commission, Social Prerogative and Specific Competencies Lines (SOCPL) Programme



European Commission


1 January 2024 - 1 January 2026


Maja Bobic
Head of Projects and Fundraising

Maria José Zepeda
Project Support Specialist



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