Gaby Umbach, In How Far?: A New Mode of Governance Constrained by the Supranational Macro-Economic Integration Paradigm in:

Gaby Umbach

Intent and Reality of the European Employment Strategy, page 239 - 240

Europeanisation of National Employment Policies and Policy-Making?

1. Edition 2009, ISBN print: 978-3-8329-4128-4, ISBN online: 978-3-8452-1247-0

Series: Studies on the European Union, vol. 1

Bibliographic information
The Why, When, How, What, and In How Far of European Employment Policy Co-ordination 239 3.4.4 In How Far?: A New Mode of Governance Constrained by the Supranational Macro-Economic Integration Paradigm Curtailing this rather positive assessment of the Europeanisation potential of the EES, the analysis of its embeddedness into supranational economic policy coordination shows in how far its impact is constrained by the European macroeconomic and monetary integration focus and by other international multilateral surveillance activities, even if the EES itself forms one of the core building-blocks of the supranational socio-economic governance architecture. The interweavement of these areas creates limitations that derive especially from the dominance of supranational monetary integration within EMU as the most powerful intervening variable (cf. chapter Owing to its path-dependent institutionalisation and constitutionalisation as well as to the predominant macro-economic integration approach at the time of its inception, the EES “was both a supplement and subordinated to EMU … [given that] more ambitious, employment-creating initiatives were circumscribed by the importance attached to sound money and the credibility of maintaining price stability. Therefore, employment policy [for a long period] was residual in character” (Schäfer 2004:8; cf. ibid.:12). This subordination was even strengthened by the missing influence on all policies decisive for a high level of employment by the ‘policy ID’ of the EES, with aspects such as collective bargaining, monetary, fiscal and regulatory policy (cf. Jenson/Pochet 2002:12; cf. chapter, graph 5) outside its co-ordination competences. Thus, the missing integration of macro-economic policies and the EES’s focus on merely “a subset of labour market policies, such as employability” (cf. Begg 2004:3) left it with only limited influence on important macro-economic aspects of employment and labour market reforms. More importantly, EMU deprived EU member states of their potential to react to rising unemployment by, inter alia, rendering excessive deficit spending to create new jobs impossible. This reduction in scope also impacts on the ‘policy ID’ of the EES by clearly identifying ‘no-go-areas’ for employment policy co-ordination. EMU’s provisions establish a dominant supranational monetary policy paradigm and substantially restrict autonomous national reactions to economic crisis, domestic solutions to decrease unemployment and external shocks (Boltho 1998:148; cf. Barrell/Dury 2000:634; Dyson 2000a:646; Serrano Pascual 2003:162). They rule “out fiscal and wage policy as sources of expansionary stimulus” (Foden/Magnusson 2003:9) and make “some traditional employment policy tools obsolete: … competitive devaluation, adjustment of national interest rates, public deficit policies, and state aid” (Goetschy 2003:70; cf. Jenson/Pochet 2002:3; Kasten/Soskice 2001:39ff.). Especially “the move toward the final stages of EMU have altered the rules of the game, and have rendered any return to Keynesian or other forms of demand management and traditional social policy thinking very unlikely” (Jenson/Pochet 2002:4). The only socio-economic policy instrument remaining at the hand of national policy-makers are, hence, labour market and employment policies that, never- The Why, When, How, What, and In How Far of European Employment Policy Co-ordination 240 theless, have to be in line with EMU (cf. Busby 2005:34). Thus, with its strong influence on “the allocation of resources, the distribution of income, stability and growth, as well as the formal and informal institutions o[f] labor, product and financial markets” (Jonung 2002:2), EMU and the SGP not only affect supranational socio-economic policy-making of especially Eurozone members. They, moreover, substantially restrict the range of national employment policy-making and the overall policy scope of the EES the same way as the “fact that certain aspects of EU policy which affect growth and job creation remained outside the scope of European employment policy” (Busby 2005:34). Hence, “EMU and particularly the conditions imposed on participation in the Eurozone, are generally considered to threaten earlier gains made by unions as well as social spending, because they render demandside responses impossible” (Jenson/Pochet 2002:3). However, regardless of the restrictions that EMU imposes on the EES, the latter complements EMU by a strong focus on supply-side policies. In this context, especially the “inability of the EES to directly influence policy-making in the monetary, fiscal and wage contexts has meant that it has developed as a supply-side strategy aimed at removing structural barriers to employment” (Busby 2005:34). So, one of the key aims of the EES, by the “creation of a ‘social’ discourse on employment [,] was to counter-balance that of the ministers of finance and the European Central Bank” (de la Porte/Pochet 2003:49) in order to socially flank monetary integration. Rooting in these overall limitations, the EES is not in the position to impact on the Europeanisation of all cornerstones of the system of political responsibilities for a high level of employment (cf. chapter, graph 5). Apart from its interweavement with the Cardiff and the Cologne processes within the European Employment Pact, it cannot impact on policy change, transfer, or convergence in regulatory, monetary, or financial policies. So, it alone cannot provide for a coherent and integrated framework for job creation. In order to support reforms of employment policies and labour markets within the EU, the EES is, thus, dependent on the success of EMU and the SGP, the BEPG and overall economic growth given that structural reform. With the 2003 reform and especially the 2005 renewal of the Lisbon Strategy with its synergy approach, the EES became, yet, more strongly embedded into a socio-economic policy co-ordination environment that more coherently attempts “to establish a nexus between the different EU policy areas by widening its scope of actions, which goes beyond the field of social policy strictu sensu” (Velluti 2002:2). Nevertheless, emancipation of the EES from the dominance of EMU and the overarching relevance of the BEPG could not be witnessed during the period under analysis. Quite on the contrary, its visibility was again subordinated to macro- and micro-economic guidelines with the 2005 reform establishing the ‘Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs’.

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Mit ihren spezifischen Merkmalen als neues Politikinstrument – wie etwa ihrem rechtlich nicht bindenden Charakter, dem Ziel des gegenseitigen Politiklernens durch Austausch bester Praktiken oder gemeinsamen Evaluierungsprozessen – stellt die Europäische Beschäftigungsstrategie (EBS) und die mit ihr Anwendung findende Offene Methode der Koordinierung (OMK) beschäftigungspolitische Akteure in der EU vor die neuen Herausforderungen von Politik-Koordinierung, die die Politikgestaltung im europäischen Mehrebenensystem neu prägen.

Das vorliegende Buch beschäftigt sich intensiv mit diesen unterschiedlichen Facetten der EBS und ihrer Wirkung. Es geht dabei über bisherige Einzelstudien zur EBS hinaus und befasst sich nicht nur mit deren Entstehung, Entwicklung und Merkmalen. Es kontrastiert vielmehr den eigenen Anspruch der EBS mit ihrer politischen Realität und untersucht theoretisch hoch reflektiert deren Einfluss auf Politik-Koordinierungsstrukturen, Beschäftigungspolitiken und zugrunde liegenden Ideen sowie deren Zusammenspiel mit anderen wirtschaftspolitischen Bereichen. Neben der EU-Ebene dienen Großbritannien und Deutschland als Fallbeispiele für mitgliedstaatliche Anpassungsprozesse. Das Buch verankert seine Wirkungsanalyse sehr fundiert in der wissenschaftstheoretischen Debatte um Europäisierung und Politikkonvergenz, um deren Anwendbarkeit im Falle der EBS kritisch zu analysieren. Es komplettiert damit Europäisierungsstudien zu regulativer Politik durch die Analyse des Einflusses weicher Politik-Koordinierung im europäischen Mehrebenensystem.