Governance by the Open Method of Coordination: The European Employment Strategy
What caused an issue that had been floating around various EU-level policies for four decades to make the leap onto the Treaty agenda, and finally into the Treaty of Amsterdam? The research presented here suggests that a welfare state explanation of preferences, based on national spending on labour market policies and unemployment rates, does a good job of identifying the Member States who led the creation of an EU employment policy, namely Denmark and Sweden. The Danish presidency of 1993 helped put employment policy on the agenda of the EU, and Sweden consistently pushed for an employment strategy in the 1996 IGC. High unemployment rates in southern welfare states (with the exception of Portugal) also partially explain why Member States with low rates of expenditure on labour market policies may have found EU-level cooperation appealing, and were thus passive supporters of an employment title rather than policy resisters.
KeywordsMember State Welfare State Social Partner Labour Market Policy Employment Policy
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