Experiences from Around the World
Edited by Philip Arestis and Malcolm Sawyer
Chapter 3: European employment policies: a new social democratic model for Europe?
Euclid Tsakalotos1 This chapter attempts to address the question of whether we are seeing the development of an overall EU employment strategy that can in some sense be seen as a continuation of social democratic policies at the European level. The signing of the European Employment Pact at the Cologne Council in June 1999 was heralded by many as a turning point in two respects. First, the EU was taking a more activist stance on the employment issue in part to increase its legitimacy by showing that monetary union was not just about monetary and financial stability. The Pact sought to bring together the various policies and measures that had been agreed since Amsterdam into a coherent whole. Second, it was hoped that, by upgrading the importance of employment, this would move the economic agenda of the EU in a more social democratic direction. The argument of this chapter is three-fold. First, the EU has managed to upgrade the importance of employment policies. This has entailed both creating mechanisms and institutions to coordinate individual Member States’ policies and, at least to some extent, pushing for certain EU priorities. Secondly, the strategy as a whole, which links macroeconomic and microeconomic aspects, has a certain coherence in which the macroeconomic aspects seek to promote a stable framework for the supply-side labour market policies to work. This chapter does not address the success of the approach, which is after all still at an early stage of development and implementation. But we do argue...
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