Why ‘Employability’ Won’t Make EMU Work

  • Andy Robinson


‘You could say we have rescued EMU although I would be grateful if you didn’t say it too loudly’. The remark — off the record, of course — was made to the Financial Times by one of Tony Blair’s Ministers at the European Union’s Amsterdam summit in June 1997.1 However smug, the statement is quite accurate. The language of Blairism provided a makeshift bridge between Bonn and Paris in what at one stage appeared to be a clash over European unemployment that might have scuppered the whole EMU project. French Socialist prime minister Lionel Jospin had won the May 1997 election with promises to change the thrust of European integration and put jobs back on the agenda. If that meant renegotiating the fiscally restrictive stability pact — ‘an absurd concession to the Germans’, in the words of Jospin — so be it. The French unemployment rate had risen from 9.5 per cent to 12.8 per cent between 1991 and 1997, and the victory of a Left coalition that embraced the Eurosceptic Communist Party showed just how many French citizens put the malaise down to preparations for monetary union. Jean-Marie Le Pen’s europhobic and racist National Front’s 15 per cent share of the vote rammed the point home.


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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andy Robinson

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