Managing Labour Market Transitions and Risks
Chapter 2: The European Employment Strategy: How Far Away are we from the Lisbon Goals?
2. The European Employment Strategy: How far away are we from the Lisbon goals? Europe no longer inspires people to dream. (Jean-Claude Juncker)1 2.1 INTRODUCTION The sluggish dynamics of growth and employment experienced in most member states of the European Union (EU) for many years give reason to wonder whether the ambitious goals formulated by the Council in Lisbon in March 2000 can still be achieved by 2010. This concern is reinforced by the accession of ten additional states in May 2004 (Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovenia, Slovak Republic – hereafter referred to as the EU 10) and of two others (Bulgaria, Romania) in January 2007, the majority of which lag further behind the goals than do the 15 ‘old’ EU member states (EU 15). Current negotiations with Turkey only intensify the reservations. Moreover, the key instrument for implementing the European Employment Strategy (EES) – the ‘open method of coordination’ – has come under mounting criticism. This method, originally known as the Luxembourg process when it was shaped at the EU summit in Luxembourg in November 1997, was agreed upon by the heads of government of the EU member states and declared oﬃcial policy at the Lisbon summit in 2000. However, the open method of coordination allegedly lacks credible sanctions (Begg and Berghman 2002), dispenses with European-wide legal norms (Steinle 2001), does not really trigger the desired learning processes (Radaelli 2003) and aspires to onesided quantitative objectives on the cost of quality aspects (Salais 2003). As...
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