The author highlights the political vulnerability of public banks with the example of German public banks. He introduces the reader to the traditional structure of the German banking system, the role of the public banks therein, and the relevance of this structure for the German production regime. He then traces the conflict between private and public banks as the latter increasingly competed for the same business. The conflict stalemated in the national arena until the European Single Market project was launched. This offered the private banks the opportunity to bypass the strong opposition in Germany. As European competition law presumes that all actors act like profit-maximizing private investors, the state liability guarantee for German public banks was considered to be an unfair competitive advantage. Under the dictates of the European Commission, this guarantee had to be withdrawn by the year 2005.
Daniel Seikel and Dorothee Spannagel
At present, in-work poverty is on the rise in many European countries. At the same time, there is a widely held political belief that employment is the best route out of poverty. Current social and labour market policies throughout Europe are characterised by a strong activation turn. National and European Union (EU)-level policy-makers focus predominantly on the promotion of active labour market policies. However, this approach does not pay attention to the circumstances of the employment the individuals have to take up. This observation serves as starting point for the chapter. It examines how active labour market policies are linked to in-work poverty. The authors analyse labour market policies in 18 European countries using the 2013 EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) data and the 2012 wave of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Active Labour Market Policies Database. Their findings show that active labour market polices with a stronger focus on demanding than on enabling strategies lead to higher in-work poverty rates.