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Gaby Umbach, Europeanisation of British and German Policy Co-ordination Structures and the Supranational EES-PCN: Interactions Becoming an Integrated Approach? in:

Gaby Umbach

Intent and Reality of the European Employment Strategy, page 413 - 429

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 https://doi.org/10.5771/9783845212470

Series: Studies on the European Union, vol. 1

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413 6. Final conclusions: Guiding Assumptions and Theses Re-visited 6.1 The EES’s Europeanisation Impact on the UK and Germany – ‘Get Together’ or ‘Mind the Gap’? 6.1.1 Europeanisation of British and German Policy Co-ordination Structures and the Supranational EES-PCN: Interactions Becoming an Integrated Approach? In the light of the assumptions of the first guiding thesis (cf. chapter 2.3.1), the present sub-chapter draws conclusions on the Europeanisation impact of the EES on the adaptation of national employment policy co-ordination structures in the two EU member states as well as on the interactions within the EMLG arena of the EES- PCN. It also draws conclusions on its impact on EMLG interactions within the EES- PCN in terms of change of regular EMLG policy network characteristics due to the OMC applied. The first part of the sub-chapter starts with the comparison of results on the national parts of the EES-PCN in the UK and in Germany. It concludes on the activation of existing domestic veto points under the EES, on the domestic adaptation to the institutional logics of the EES, on similarities and differences between the two national institutional set ups dealing with the EES as well as on potential institutional isomorphism. The second part of the sub-chapter summarises the impact of the EES and the OMC applied with it on the general characteristics of EMLG policy networks. It highlights change caused by the new policy instrument and relates the results back to the academic debate on the EES and the OMC. The first thesis assumed that The EES has an, albeit varying, impact on employment policy co-ordination structures and the interaction of actors involved in the related policy co-ordination network within the UK and Germany. Domestic involvement in the supranational policy co-ordination cycle fosters institutional adaptation and change leading towards institutional isomorphism. 6.1.1.1 The National Level: Domestic Institutional Paths and Interactions Running into the EES-PCN – Europeanisation Leading to Institutional Isomorphism? The empirical analysis of the EES’s Europeanisation impact on the domestic polity/ politics dimension focused on institutional change instigated by the EES and on similarities and/or differences to be found in view of structural adaptation in the UK Final Conclusions 414 and Germany. It analysed whether different outcomes were to be found and could be attributed to domestic policy-making, institutional traditions and/or different systemic premises defined as intervening variables (cf. chapter 2.2). Regarding domestic veto points within the UK and Germany, the result of the empirical analysis of the domestic NAP process (cf. chapter 4.2) has provided evidence for their low degree of activation under the EES. Exemptions to this low activation were the state and government structures, inner-/inter-departmental coordination procedures and the integration of social partners. Yet, no existing domestic veto point turned out to forcefully intervene into the process of setting up the NAPs and dealing with the EES at national level. Additionally, the influence of the potentially active veto points (cf. chapter 2.2.1) is assessed to be weaker under the EES than in regular domestic policy-making. This low activation can especially be attributed to the new policy instrument applied that does not operate via real decision-making or negotiation of policy output. It can, moreover, be linked to the seclusion of the expert network engaged in setting up the NAP and to the low visibility and transparency of the NAP process and the EES within the domestic arenas. At the same time, the EES provided social partners in the UK with an additional source of influence on EU-related policy co-ordination and improved their general participation especially since 2003/04 (cf. chapter 5.1.2). Contrary to this assessment, German social partners viewed their autonomy to be limited by the supranational co-ordination cycle as they were obliged to contribute to the implementation of government documents not fully co-ordinated with them in advance. Table 43: Activation of Domestic Veto Points under the EES Potential veto points Feature UK Operational under the EES D Operational under the EES Structure of State / Subnational entities +/++ -/+ ++++ + Head of State - - - - Premier Minister / Chancellor ++++ - +++ - Government ++++ + +++ + Parliament + - ++/+++ - Political Parties ++ - +++ - Co-ordination Procedure +++ + ++++ +/++ Interest Organisations / Stakeholders ++ +/++ +++ ++ Social partner integration in EU-related policy-making + +/++ ++/+++ ++ (weak = -; medium weak = +; medium = ++; medium strong = +++; strong = ++++). Source: Own compilation based on chapter 2.2.1 and 4.2 combined with two aspects (italics) amended from Treib 2004:121. Final Conclusions 415 Regarding the procedural compliance of both member states with the EES and the domestic adaptation to its institutional logics and timetable, a mixed picture can be draw. During the EES’s first phase, both countries deviated only once from the official deadline for submission of the NAP to the Commission in 1999. In the subsequent period, they complied with the timetable of the EES (cf. chapter 4.1, table 25). So, after 1999, the governments delivered the documents and information requested by the EU level in time with no particular supranational criticism or complaint to be acknowledged. The integration of all relevant actors at all relevant levels suffered in the UK from the missing tradition of institutionalised domestic social partner consultation and from a centralised state structure that did not pay extensive attention to policy priorities of the subnational level as well as to regional labour markets’ performance. The systemic integration of social partners, however, increased especially since 2003/04 and the recognition of regional level activities in terms of integration into the NAP was enhanced with devolution. Caused by this devolution of the state structure, the multilevel character of the UK NAP can be perceived to have increased during the first phase of the EES. Contrary to this structural mismatch in the UK, Germany– due to strong national tripartite social dialogue traditions and the political traditions of multilevel integration of all relevant actors at all relevant levels of domestic policy-making–rather positively complied with the underlying ideas of the EES, structurally integrating social partners’ priorities as well as those of the Länder into the work of several ministries. Given these starting conditions, structural and procedural re-arrangements of existing institutional set ups has, yet, been medium weak in both countries. Adaptation to the institutional model and logics of the EES was medium weak to medium in the UK, given that the approach to social partner consultation under the EES can be assessed to have become more formalised and extended compared to the rather ad-hoc consultation mechanisms within regular domestic policy-making. Compared to the British situation, adaptation has been medium weak in Germany. However, also in Germany, inter-ministerial and inner-state-level contacts and consultation between actors involved have been strengthened and intensified. This fact provides for evidence of the slight adaptation of the underlying cognitive/normative coordination and consultation structures. If, in the case of the UK, this medium weak to medium adaptation was due to misfit of domestic structures for social partner consultation, in the German case, medium weak adaptation was caused by huge systemic similarity with little misfit to be found. Adaptation to perform well under the EES was, hence, largely path-dependent in both countries, nevertheless, touching upon change of underlying cognitive/normative structures of institutional arrangements and domestic traditions. Final Conclusions 416 Table 44: Adaptation to the Institutional Logic of the EES within the UK and Germany UK D Compliance with the official timetable of the EES +++/++++ +++/++++ Delivery of all documents and information required by the EU level +++/++++ +++/++++ Integration of all relevant actors at all relevant levels ++ +++ Structural and procedural re-arrangement of existing domestic institutional set ups + + Adaptation to the institutional model of the EES-PCN +/++ + Change of underlying cognitive / normative structures +/++ + Source: Own compilation (weak = -; medium weak = +; medium = ++; medium strong= +++; strong = ++++). The empirical analysis provided for evidence of the EES having had a nearly equal Europeanisation impact in the UK and in Germany, even if the UK showed bigger institutional misfit to the structural and procedural aspects of EMLG policy coordination under the EES. Given British systemic characteristics, such as a strongly centralised polity, integrated leadership, and ‘trimmed’ pluralism (cf. chapter 2.2.1.1), the EMLG approach of the EES-PCN proved to be further away from domestic institutional practices and traditions than in the German case of a strongly decentralised polity, fragmented leadership, and ‘corporatist style’ pluralism (cf. chapter 2.2.1.2). Yet, contrary to the assumptions of the first guiding thesis and due to institutional path-dependence as well as the dominance of national structuralprocedural traditions, this higher institutional misfit did not lead to increased institutional change due to higher adaptation pressure to better cope with the EES. Therefore and again contrary to the first guiding thesis, this result leaves cause for suspicion of the legally non-binding character of the EES being the main reason for the altogether medium weak to medium Europeanisation impact of the EES on domestic structures. Nevertheless and in line with the assumptions of the first guiding thesis, the non-binding character of the EES opened up leeway for domestic adaptation manoeuvres, which national political actors partially used to adjust alongside their own national institutional traditions and logics. Even though the EES interlinked supranational and national employment policy actors, arenas, policy-making communities, and stakeholders (cf. chapter 4.2.1 and 6.1.1.2), it did only lead to a moderate form of adaptation of existing domestic institutional set ups and actors’ interactions in the UK and to rather superficial adaptation in Germany (cf. below). Therefore, it far less than initially assumed fed back into the Final Conclusions 417 British and German political system and did not lead to strong structural and procedural adaptation to the institutional logics of the OMC in order to comply with employment policy co-ordination requirements. Related to the assumptions of the first guiding thesis on the influence of the EES leading towards institutional isomorphism (cf. chapter 2.3.1), hence, no strong impact of the strategy could be observed and institutional isomorphism is missing. Moreover, no strong impact on national policy co-ordination structures and practice was observed either, even though the new supranational EES-PCN leaked partially through to employment policy co-ordination at national levels. Hence, while institutional isomorphism is missing, functional equivalence of both processes and institutional set ups in the UK and Germany became obvious. Nevertheless, the underlying logics of institutional isomorphism to initiate change in formal and informal institutions, including underlying ideas–that is, cognitive/normative structures–through increased multilevel political interaction proved to be true and supportive to partially strengthen for example the position of British social partners and devolved administrations under the EES. Contrary to the initial guiding assumption, national divergences did not diminish and similarities did not increase through integration and offer as mechanisms for institutional change as a result of the Europeanisation pressures of the EES. Thus, although they were increasingly exposed to each other within the EES-PCN, domestic structures did not develop distinctive similar organisational patterns, procedures, practices, or resources. The UK and Germany did, therefore, not ‘get closer together’ through the adaptation pressure of the EES, but did rather ‘mind the gap’ of national traditions and particularities. Regarding similarities and differences in adaptation of the two national institutional set ups towards the structural-procedural logics of the EES the following results can be summarised: Similarities: • Existing lines of co-ordination, interaction, communication, and contact were applied, intensified, and became partially more formalised under the EES. • No entirely new co-ordination system was created and no new institutions or procedures were established at the national level to deal exclusively with the EES and the NAP. • Even though the EES was innovative as far as it offered new institutional opportunity structures to the national actors, it did not proof to be highly innovative as far as national co-ordination procedures and institutional innovation were concerned. • National institutional provisions related to the NAP process and the EES pathdependently obeyed the different government traditions. • The chosen co-ordination mechanisms did not differ from other inner-/interministerial co-ordination or consultation procedures and structures, but intensified inter-ministerial and inner-state-level contacts. • A rather pragmatic approach to employment policy co-ordination has been chosen in both countries. Final Conclusions 418 • A high level of co-ordination activities and interactions was necessary in order to guarantee the integration of relevant actors. • Lead institutions channelled and steered the process of setting up the NAP (even if to different degrees). • Contacts of the domestic parts of the EES-PCN to the supranational level were broadly channelled via lead institutions. • The domestic procedure of setting up the NAP was characterised by low parliamentarisation, low visibility, and low transparency. • A rather closed expert network was engaged in setting up the NAP, leading to seclusion of the domestic EES advocacy coalition from other policy-making and co-ordination communities. • The integration of social partners’ positions into the NAP process did not seem to be sufficiently guaranteed in both countries, as social partners complained about the missing integration of their comments into the NAP, especially in the case of criticism of domestic policies. • Concerning the general workload of the actors involved in setting up the NAP, engagement in national employment policy-making prevailed and was far more important than the production of the NAP and the ‘implementation’ of the EES. Differences: • A rather complex and de-centralised set of inner-/inter-ministerial as well as inner-state-level co-ordination and consultation procedures was established and intensified in Germany. • The complexity of the German structure provides for cause of suspicion that contacts between the actors involved in the British part of the EES-PCN, due to centralised structures and processes, might have been more structured than in Germany given that fewer ministries and actors were involved in setting up the UK NAP. • The UK adopted a centralised and streamlined structure, with fewer actors involved, in which especially the consultation of social partners was centrally channelled via only one ministry. • Differences in domestic structural-procedural provisions to deal with the EES were largely rooted in national political co-ordination traditions. • While Germany followed its corporatist tradition of social partner consultation, the UK adopted a centralised procedure and had to set up new, more formalised links. • The German part of the EES-PCN allowed for social partners as well as the government to more directly comment on the single ministries’ draft parts of the NAP. • The EES did not have the power to entirely change underlying domestic cognitive/normative structures concerning social dialogue within the UK, even if it was influential. It, yet, did not ‘transplant’ a corporatist or continental model of tripartite social dialogue onto the British policy-making process. Final Conclusions 419 • HM Treasury surveys the NAP process in view of its budget implications and coherence with macro-economic policies, while–during the first phase of the EES–the BMF, moreover and due to national administrative traditions, technically led the domestic process of setting up the NAP. • In the UK, competences for employment policies are traditionally as well as in the case of the EES divided between the DWP and the DTI. • Due to the federal state structure, the involvement of the subnational level was stronger in Germany than in the UK, even if with devolution the integration of regional activities in the NAPs increased after 2001. • Parallel to the launch of the supranational peer review/mutual learning programme, Germany established an own domestic peer review element into the work of the Alliance for Jobs. Given the results of the empirical analysis, no fundamental change of domestic institutional, structural, and procedural traditions were found to have been initiated by the EES. Apart from those involved in the domestic parts of the EES-PCN, the attention of domestic political actors has not significantly shifted towards the European level and domestic priorities still dominate the national employment policy-making agendas. Generally, the Europeanisation impact of the EES on domestic structures in Germany lies within the area of absorption, slightly tending towards inertia. The Europeanisation impact related to underlying cognitive/normative structures in Germany is located of absorption with a trend towards accommodation/upgrading, given that the EES, due to low systemic misfit, did not exert major pressures to change domestic approaches to align with its ideas, but caused an intensification of interministerial and inner-state-level co-ordination. The Europeanisation impact of the EES in the UK lies within the area of accommodation/upgrading tending towards absorption with underlying cognitive/normative structures to be fully located within accommodation/upgrading. Due to more intensive social dialogue consultations since 2003/04 and the stronger integration of the subnational level after 2000/01 (cf. 5.1.3), the cognitive/normative structures adapted stronger than in Germany. Nevertheless, institutional isomorphism is absent in both the British and the German part of the EES-PCN. At the same time, however, functional equivalence points at ‘functional isomorphism’, following underlying domestic traditions and paradigms and slightly adapting underlying cognitive/normative structures. The assumption of a higher Europeanisation impact of the EES in the UK than in Germany has been verified, It did, yet, not lead to a further institutionalisation of social dialogue structures in domestic policy-making in general. Hence, the higher adaptation pressure merely focused on this particular aspect of domestic policy co-ordination without being influenced by other veto points such as the centralised state structure or other system variables (cf. chapter 2.2.1.1). Final Conclusions 420 Table 45: Europeanisation of Employment Policy Co-ordination Structures in the UK and Germany Domain of Europeanisation Europeanisation impact Category of Europeanisation Domestic structures Public Policy Cognitive/ Normative structures Retrenchment (becoming less European) Inertia (absence of change) Absorption (largely superficial form of change) Accommodation / Upgrading (moderate form of adaptation) Missing (adaptation pressure too strong) High (changes of fundamental logics) Transformation (fundamental change) Source: Own results and compilation; own design based on the contents of Radaelli 2003b:35, Börzel/Risse 2003:70 and Meyer/Umbach 2007:94f.; partially inspired by the design of Mittag/Wessels 2003:414. Given that not only institutional change at national level can be inspired by the new structural-procedural aspects of the EES/OMC and as the latter–taking up sociological institutionalist assumptions–also impact on the change of underlying policy ideas and paradigms, they, yet, also proved to foster adaptation of orientation of political actors involved in the process towards the supranational level by increasing policy learning stimuli. Therefore and even if the EES did not lead to a strong Europeanisation of the structural-procedural aspects of the domestic parts of the EES-PCN, it, nevertheless, impacted on cognitive/normative structures of national employment policy co-ordination procedures, interlinking them with the EES-PCN by integrating national employment policy actors. With a view to these cognitive/normative structures, the EES drew the attention of actors involved to its inherent institutional logic. It created a new, rather closed, but stable domestic part of the EES-PCN, i.e. the annual NAP process that is linked to the supranational part of the EES-PCN in a D UK D D. Structures UK D. structures Final Conclusions 421 deliberative and consensus-oriented manner. This fact can be assessed to be one of the most positive effects of the EES given that by exchange of experience, national officials become part of a wider, cross national epistemic community of employment policy experts. Moreover, through the intensification of contacts between national officials within the framework of the EES, also bilateral meetings between the member states increased. Yet, given that no far-reaching change has been found in view of the Europeanisation of British and German domestic employment policy co-ordination structures, the analysis revealed a high degree of national institutional stability based on a strong path-dependence of domestic structures most deeply rooted in national traditions of inner- and inter-ministerial co-ordination and co-operation. National officials and governments, thus, did not use the opportunity of thick institutional learning provided by the EES (cf. chapter 2.1.2.3) The partial falsification of the first guiding thesis, hence, provides for evidence of systemic preconditions and national traditions being powerful intervening variables to minimise or even bloc the Europeanisation effects of the EES. 6.1.1.2 The Impact of the EES on European Multilevel Policy Network Structures: A Lock, Stock, and Barrel New Performance or New Lyrics in Old Sceneries? Based on new institutionalist assumptions, the first guiding thesis assumed that, on the background of the systemic premises and the functional features of the EMLG system (cf. chapter 2.1.1.2.1), the link between domestic employment policy coordination structures and the supranational level procedurally and structurally integrates actors of the different political levels of in a new supranational EES-PCN. The first guiding thesis, thus, assumed that the EES, through its integration into the European treaty framework and by the establishment of a new and own institutional structure at European as well as at domestic levels, had the power to construct a new and special, non-hierarchical EES-PCN. This new EES-PCN was assumed to differ from ‘traditional’ EMLG policy networks (cf. chapter 2.1.1.2.3) as the OMC impacted on the re-arrangement of EMLG policy network patterns (cf. chapter 2.1.1.3.3). In the second phase of the EES (2003-2005)–at least ‘on paper’–the development of a supranational socio-economic policy co-ordination network, bringing together key actors from several institutions, networks, and bodies to establish a co-ordinated policy-mix related to the co-ordination of macro-economic and employment policies was to be witnessed. Nevertheless, before the synchronisation, streamlining and welding of the EES with the BEPG, the EES-PCN remained rather separate from other supranational socio-economic PCN, with no real new integrated approach to be established. So, during the first phase of the ‘stand-alone’ EES, no strong institutional basis for developing a co-ordinated policy-mix with regard to the formal coordination of monetary, fiscal, macro-economic and employment policies had been set up. Final Conclusions 422 The supranational EES-PCN can be characterised as weakly politicised, especially given that, in parallel to its benefits, actors are all much aware of the limits of the EES and the OMC applied with it. Regarding the impact of the EES on overall EMLG policy network patterns, the empirical analysis of chapter 4–particularly in view of the developments of the second phase of the synchronised, streamlined, and welded EES–verified the assumptions of the first guiding thesis. With a view to the (re-)impact of employment policy co-ordination under the ‘stand-alone’ EES (1997/98-2002) on the functional, structural, and procedural (politics) dimension of the overall EMLG system (polity), the EES/OMC has not provided for a ramp for a lock, stock and barrel new performance, but rather led to the adaptation and rearrangement of old sceneries to the requirements of the new lyrics. Nevertheless, the EES has had an impact on related politics patterns (cf. chapter 2.1.1.2.1; Knodt 2005:30; Lowi 1972). The particularities of employment policy coordination through the OMC changed ‘traditional’ structural and procedural logics of EMLG policy networks given that the latter were no longer entirely suitable for the former, even if the “division of tasks between the member states and the EU remains unchanged in formal terms” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:199). Therefore, particular politics features compared to ‘traditional’ EMLG policy networks can be discerned. One of the most important peculiarities being the fact that under the EES policy is not ‘made’, but ‘co-ordinated’. So, EES-related employment policy coordination procedurally and structurally differs from policy-making within the EMLG system. Table 46: General Dimensions of the EES-PCN Dimension Specific Characteristics of the EES-PCN Nominal extension • Focus on employment policy • Interlinkages with (neighbouring) policy areas (macroeconomic policy, education, gender/discrimination …) Actors • Dominance of organisational actors and bureaucracies • European Commission • Council of the EU • (Sub)National ministries • (Supranational/National) interest organisations/ federations Functions • Employment policy co-ordination, monitoring, and reporting • Exchange of experience and best practice • Initiating policy convergence towards commonly identified aims • Horizontal cross-loading • No regulatory or distributive binding decision-making Final Conclusions 423 Dimension Specific Characteristics of the EES-PCN Structure • Low degree of fluctuation • Low dynamics of actors’ constellations • Low number of actors involved • Tendency of seclusion • Steering of access • Minimal number of official access points (yet: varying according to national political systems/traditions) Degree of institutionalisation • Supranational level: High institutionalisation • National level: Varying degree of institutionalisation depending on national traditions Rules of procedures • Interactions co-ordinated by formalised/institutionalised contacts • Policy co-ordination • Consensus-oriented, non-conflictual mode of negotiation • Deliberation, exchange of information, low politicisation Distribution of power • Outstanding position of the European Commission and the Council of the EU • Asymmetries of power constellations between government actors and social partners as well as among social partner organisations at national level • Low degree of parliamentarisation and public visibility • Hierarchically steered flow of information and access Actors’ strategies • Exchange of information and best practices • Non-conflictual consultation instead of ‘bargaining’ and decision-making • Use of formal channels of contact Source: Own compilation based on table 1 as well as on chapters 2.1.1.2.3, 4.1 and 4.2. The specific characteristics of the EES-PCN result in changes of ‘traditional’ EMLG policy networks (cf. chapter 2.1.1.2.3) in central areas. The focus of the EES-PCN is laid on employment policy co-ordination. Yet, especially in the second phase of the EES it goes beyond this mono-policy focus by interlinking different socio-economic policy co-ordination cycles, related policies (cf. Borrás/Greve 2004:333f.; Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189; Laffan/Shaw 2005:6) and autonomous supranational and “national decision-making arenas that are co-ordinated by jointly produced best practice models” (Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:130). By doing so, it combines “decentralization with reintegration” (ibid.) in socio-economic policy co-ordination. The main function of the EES-PCN is employment policy co-ordination, reporting, monitoring, and evaluation. It aims at exchange of experience and best practice as well as implementation control and to initiate policy convergence towards broader, commonly identified aims “rather than [to] establish the precise mechanisms for achieving ‘closed’ goals” (cf. Borrás/Greve 2004:332). The underlying Final Conclusions 424 political aim of these functions “relies on the assumption that co-ordination will be achieved through changes in national policies conveyed by the explicit political commitment to common goals, by the increase of the knowledge and comparability of country’s national policies and structures, and by the periodical review of the achievements” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:195). Due to the focus on employment policy co-ordination, concrete decision-making and gathering of expertise for policy formulation are not relevant in this case. In contrast to EMLG policy networks under ‘old’ modes of governance, the structural patterns of the EES-PCN are characterised by a rather low degree of fluctuation and little dynamics of actors’ constellations with a tendency towards seclusion (cf. chapter 4.1 and 4.2; cf. Bomberg/Peterson 2000:24; Hodson 2004:238; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:290; Radaelli 2003b:12 and 49; Wessels 2003c:22; Zeitlin 2005a:23), opacity and lack of transparency (cf. Hodson/Maher 2001:730). They, moreover, focus on steering of access through a small number of official access points within the Commission, the Council and national ministries with varying degrees of formalisation and institutionalisation depending on national traditions and practice. With this feature it, yet, contradicts the original aim of creating more openness and transparency for policy co-ordination. Besides policy co-ordination as a new type of rule of procedure, arguing rather than bargaining prevails with a non-conflictual mode of negotiation especially in the Council, given that no regulatory or distributive binding decisions are taken (cf. Wessels 2003c:6). Accordingly, actors’ strategies focus on consensual decisionmaking as far as the JER, the EGs, and the recommendations are concerned and on deliberation and exchange of information with a view to employment policy coordination. While, in view of the distribution of power, the evolution of the EMLG system significantly broadened the integration of non-state and private actors, the aspect of formal political power is generally “as important or even more important [in EES- PCN ] than in state-centric conceptions of governing. The role of political and institutional power may be especially pronounced when governments are forced to think and act horizontally and to attempt to create more coherent patterns of governing” (Peters 2002:17). Therefore, “ownership of the process, significant for its future development but also its classification, is complex” (Laffan/Shaw 2005:11) and “[i]dentifying the policy entrepreneur in this process of mutual learning and accommodation is not easy” (Wallace, W. 2005:488; cf. Tucker 2003:19), even if the Commission and the Council hold outstanding positions under the EES. Nevertheless, as a general trend–like in organised anarchies of the garbage can model–the leading actors are “governmental players, rather than actors from civil society” (Peters 2002:11). Thus, the particular focus of the EES seems to empower EU member states governments more strongly than other actors given that it attributes “particular capacity for initiative to national governments: the primary mechanisms pointed out in the EES appear to be incentives linked to tax, social security and ‘modernizing work organization’ – which all remain firmly in the grip of the national govern- Final Conclusions 425 ments” (Smismans 2004:21). An exemption is, yet, the latter aspect of work organisation in member states with strong corporatist traditions. As regards actors, institutional, organisational, bureaucratic, and neo-corporatist actors are even more prevalent in the EES-PCN than in ‘traditional’ EMLG policy networks. Yet, certain changes of the role and influence of the actors involved has to be acknowledged, providing the EES with “an atypical distribution of roles among EU institutions” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:198; cf. de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:31; Radaelli 2003b:49; Wessels 2002:4). One of the most obvious characteristic in this context is the dominance of and closer co-operation between three supranational institutions as prescribed by the treaties: the European Commission, the Council of the EU and the European Council (cf. Zeitlin 2005a:21; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002: 292; Wessels 2003c:19). Yet, among these three supranational actors, no processembracing hegemon can be identified and a rather co-operative style concentrates on problem-solving and consensus. Sometimes, however, traditions of hierarchical steering seem to shine through (cf. Huget 2002:13). As a clear sign of this supranational institutional dominance, “the Commission and the Council (or European Council) in interaction determine the development and content …, relying to a larger extent on a political logic rather than on a legal logic” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:188f.). Particularly the Council has been procedurally strengthened and–after the preparatory and bilateral meetings phase–holds a central position in this process of exchange, deliberation, and evaluation at the expense of the Commission (cf. Bomberg/Peterson 2000:24; de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:45; Hodson/Maher 2001:729). The European Council has acquired a “double role” (Wessels 2003c:19) of a constitutional architect initiating the Luxembourg process, and within in economic co-ordination in general (cf. ibid.). This atypical distribution of power is, moreover, characterised by the European Council commencing the EES process officially, the Council deciding inter alia upon target, indicators, the Commission preparing proposals for such indicators, benchmarks, and guidelines, the European Parliament being merely consulted (if at all) and the Economic and Social Committee as well as the Committee of the Regions giving opinions (cf. Laffan/Shaw 2005:20). Even if the role of the Commission as policy broker is generally weaker in the EES-PCN than in the traditional Community method (cf. Hodson/Maher 2001:729: Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:292; Wessels 2003c:8), it is strengthened insofar as–being the ‘primary administrator’ of the process–it has been attributed the right to propose EGs and recommendations, on which the Council decides by qualified majority voting (QMV). The competence provides for more “indirect policy guidance” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:198) by the Commission (cf. Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:126; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler-Koch 2004a:108; Linsenmann/Wessels 2002b:132). Generally, the “Commission plays a catalysing role” (de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:29) by proposing EGs, indicators, and recommendations as well as by structuring the process of information exchange and peer review (cf. ibid.; Tucker 2003:6). These tasks offer the Commission the opportunity “to take initiatives and to expand co-operation to Final Conclusions 426 new areas belonging to the legal competencies of the member states; hence, it has been able to bypass the subsidiarity principle” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:198). In order to enhance co-operation between the Commission, the Council and the member states, EMCO has been set up to hold “a position in between the Council and the Commission” (ibid.:198; cf. Hodson/Maher 2001:729f.). This special position of ‘serving two masters’ and the fact that no legally binding decisions are taken let the role of the committee substantially differ from implementation and preparatory committees under the supranational Community method. It merges “supranational and intergovernmental experts into a consultative body for the Council and the Commission” (Tucker 2003:7; cf. Wessels 2003c:20). Nevertheless, the “difficulties of demarcation of responsibilities and the interaction … underlines the opacity and complexity of the institutional framework” (Hodson/Maher 2001:730). Adding to these specific characteristics at supranational level, the participation of national governmental actors, especially ministerial officials, is stronger in the EES- PCN than in ‘traditional’ EMLG policy networks. This particular feature leads to a “high level of political participation” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189; cf. Bomberg/Peterson 2000:25; Bulmer/Radaelli 2004:12), but also limits learning processes to ministerial officials engaged in the process (cf. Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:291). Also the European as well as national parliaments and the other institutions of the supranational legislative process play minor consultative roles in the EES-PCN94, which could have been strengthened in recent rounds of treaty revision, if a “generic constitutional provision on the OMC to ensure a clear consultative role of the European Parliament” (De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:3) would have been integrated. The involvement of actors of civil society or organised interests is co-ordinated “by the state, rather than being autonomous decisions by those actors themselves” (Wallace, W. 2005:488). Their involvement is largely “corporatist or corporatist pluralist [in style] in which multiple interests are brought together in an official decision process” (ibid.). It is, yet, also limited to huge supranational and national confederations, decreasing the impact of smaller interest groups. Social partners and interest organisations are, hence, more limited in terms of impact on and access to policy co-ordination than in traditional EMLG policy networks. The EES, as the proto-type OMC, has been branded ‘modern’, ‘interactive’ or ‘co-operative’, because public-private interactions in European multilevel policy coordination were supposed to go through major changes. With the EES, social partners and subnational entities were given the opportunity to directly be involved in national employment policy co-ordination, giving them a forum for their integration into the European employment policy co-ordination process (Börzel 2005:621 and 634f.; cf. Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189; de la Porte/Nanz 2004:268; de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:46). Nevertheless, these opportunity structures for enhancing the legitimacy of the EES by opening it to broader participation has not been fully exploited as has 94 On their general role in OMC-PCN cf. de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:46; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler- Koch 2004a:108; Héritier 2005b:7; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:292; Linsenmann/Wessels 2002b:133; Pochet 2005:42; Radaelli 2003b:38; Tucker 2003:22; Wessels 2003c:8 and 21. Final Conclusions 427 shown the empirical analysis of chapter 4 and other researcher (cf. Börzel 2005:635; Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:199). So, integration of social partners proved “to be selective, so that exclusive interests will shape the content of ‘best practice’” (Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:124; cf. Hodson/Maher 2001:722; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:291). With these features the EES-PCN is to be located in-between public-private and governmental policy networks, but show a clear tendency towards the latter (cf. chapter 2.1.1.2.3). On the background of the analysis conducted, it can be concluded that the capacity of learning processes under the EES has not been entirely utilised with the member states’ participation in European co-ordination processes partially perceived as a ‘diplomatic mission’ of positive public relations (Schäfer 2005:210; cf. Eberlein/Kerwer 2004:126; Radaelli 2003b:9) and an “uneven participatory involvement of social actors” (Borrás/Greve 2004:333) compared to the strong participation of national and supranational bureaucracies. As outlined above, these specific features of EES-PCN bring employment policy co-ordination through the OMC under the EES analytically close to public-private (policy) networks strongly steered by EUinstitutions and member states’ governments, negotiation systems and network governance (cf. Börzel 2005:621; Tucker 2003:19). 428 Final Conclusions new areas belonging to the legal competencies of the member states; hence, it has been able to bypass the subsidiarity principle” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:198). member states, EMCO has been set up to hold “a position and the Commission” (ibid.:198; cf. Hodson/Maher 2001:729f.). This special position of ‘serving two masters’ and the fact that no legally binding decisions are taken tory committees under the supranational Community method. It merges “supranational and intergovernmental experts into a consultative body for the Council and the Commission” (Tucker 2003:7; cf. Wessels 2003c:20). Nevertheless, the “difficulties of demarcation of responsibilities and the interaction … underlines the opacity and complexity of the institutional framework” (Hodson/Maher 2001:730). Adding to these specific characteristics at supranational level, the participation of national governmental actors, especially mini PCN than in ‘traditional’ EMLG policy networks. This particular feature leads to a “high level of political participation” (Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189; cf. Bomberg/Peterson 2000:25; Bulmer/Radaelli 2004:12), but also limits learning processes to ministerial officials engaged in the process (cf. Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:291). Also the European as well as national parliaments and the other institutions of the supranational legislative process play minor consultative roles in the EES-PCN94, which could have been strengthened treaty revision, if a “generic constitutional provision on the OMC to ensure a clear consultative role of the European Parliament” (De Búrca/Zeitlin 2003:3) would have been integrated. The involvement of actors of civil society or organised interests is co-ordinated “by the state, rather than by those actors themselves” (Wallace, W. 2005:488). Their involvement is largely “corporatist or corporatist decision process” (ibid.). It is, yet, also limited to huge supranational and national ng the impact of smaller interest groups. Social partners and policy co-ordination than in traditional EMLG policy networks. The EES, as the proto-type OMC, has been branded ‘modern’, ‘interactive’ or ‘co-operative’, because public-private interactions in European multilevel policy coordination were supposed to go through major changes. With the EES, social partners and subnational entities were given the opportunity to directly be involved in national employment policy co-ordination, giving them a forum for their integration into the European employment policy co-ordination process (Börzel 2005:621 and 634f.; cf. Borrás/Jacobsson 2004:189; de la Porte/Nanz 2004:268; de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:46). Nevertheless, these opportunity structures for enhancing the legitimacy of the EES by opening it to broader participation has not been fully exploited as has 94 On their general role in OMC-PCN cf. de la Porte/Pochet 2002b:46; Jachtenfuchs/Kohler- Koch 2004a:108; Héritier 2005b:7; Linsenmann/Meyer 2002:292; Linsenmann/Wessels 2002b:133; Pochet 2005:42; Radaelli 2003b:38; Tucker 2003:22; Wessels 2003c:8 and 21. G ra ph 1 5: T he E E S- P C N a nd I ts I nt er re la te dn es s w ith E ur op ea n E co no m ic P ol ic y C oor di na tio n N at io na l L ev el E C L ev el Su pr an at io na l S oc io -E co no m ic P ol ic y C oor di na ti on Eu ro pe an Pa rli am en t E F C E ur op ea n C en tr al B an k N at io na l C en tr al B an ks N at io na l P ar lia m en ts G ov er nm en ts / H ea ds o f G ov er nm en t M in is tr ie s fo r E m pl oy m en t/ So ci al A ff ai rs E co no m ic a nd F in an ce M in is tr ie s E ur op ea n C ou nc il Co m m itt ee of th e R eg io ns Ec on om ic an d So ci al C om m itt ee M ed ia E C O F IN C ou nc il M ac ro -e co n. di alo gu e E ur op ea n C om m is si on O th er D Gs D G E M P L D G E CF IN Su bn at io na l L ev el SC E / T ri pa rt it e So ci al S um m it O th er M in is tr ie s E P C So ci al P ar tn er s SP C So ci al P ar tn er s E ur op ea n E m pl oy m en t T as k F or ce E P SC O C ou nc il E M C O S ou rc e: A da pt ed v er sio n of W es se ls/ Li ns en m ann (2002 :6 0). G ra ph 1 5: T he E E S- P C N a nd I ts I nt er re la te dn es s w ith E ur op ea n E co no m ic P ol ic y C oor di na tio n Final Conclusions 429 6.1.2 British and German Employment Policies under the EES: Proximity and Rapprochement to its ‘Policy ID’ – Converging Trends, Remaining Differences In the light of the second guiding thesis the present sub-chapter draws conclusions on the Europeanisation impact of the EES on the adaptation of British and German socio-economic and employment policies highlighting converging trends and remaining differences. The second guiding thesis assumed that Even though legally non-binding the EES –by means of policy learning and exchange of best practices–has an, albeit varying, impact on domestic employment policies in the UK and Germany. As part of supranational socio-economic governance, it primarily fosters ?-convergence by means of policy transfer and diffusion, leading towards Europeanisation of national employment policies. The empirical analysis undertaken to test the assumptions of the second guiding thesis provides evidence for the fact that the soft elements of the EES stimulated learning processes and the evolution of common understandings as well as ideas related to employment policy reforms. As a result of this development, British and German employment policies approached not only the overall ‘policy ID’ of the EES, that is, developed ?-convergence to the supranational provision (cf. chapter 2.1.2.3.1). They also became more similar to each other in terms of domestic employment policy instruments and problem-solving approaches. So, ?-convergence (increasing policy similarity) can be acknowledged, too. With this trend, in a horizontal cross-national perspective, British and German employment policies consolidated and increased proximity. In parallel, in the German case a certain destabilisation of past traditions and understandings was witnessed. With the ‘Hartz’ commission, also new ways of domestic employment policy deliberation, decentralised experimentation and the collective definition of employment policy approaches came to the fore. As assumed by the second guiding thesis, different degrees of Europeanisation were found in the UK and Germany given that employment policy misfit in the case of the UK–disposing over a greater ex-ante proximity to the EES’s policy paradigm (cf. chapter 3.2.2, 3.2.3.2.2 and 3.2.3.4) at t0, i.e. the year of the inception of the EES–was indeed weaker than in the case of Germany. Based on these more problematic starting conditions, the EES had a stronger impact on German employment policies as Germany–caused by a substantive policy misfit rooting in diverse domestic welfare state and policy traditions (cf. chapter 2.2.2.2)–needed to adapt its domestic employment policy approach more fundamentally to comply with the overall ideas of supranational employment policy co-ordination. The constraints of EMU membership added to the adaptation pressure (cf. chapter 3.3). So, as assumed by the second guiding thesis, adaptation to the EES was more cumbersome and time-

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Zusammenfassung

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.