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From Luxembourg to Lisbon and Beyond: Making the Employment Strategy Work

Edward Best and Danielle Bossaert (eds)
ISBN 13 978-90-6779-170-0 EIPA Code #: 2002/C/04 Year: 2002 Pages: 127

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How well is the European Employment Strategy working? How can we improve it for the future?
Five years after it was created at Amsterdam and Luxembourg, and two years after it inspired the Open Method of Coordination at Lisbon, fundamental questions are now being asked about this new kind of non-binding policy coordination.
This approach has allowed the EU to move ahead gradually in sensitive areas through mutual learning and the convergence of national policies around common guidelines rather than by legal harmonisation. And it seems to have contributed to some improvement in the employment performance of labour markets.
Yet there are concerns and doubts. How can the procedure and the guidelines be simplified? Can benchmarking and peer review achieve effective convergence or policy learning? How can one enhance the participation of the social partners and the host of interested actors at national, regional and local levels? Should there not be a role for the European Parliament? Both the achievements and the problems are presented in this new book, which brings together leading practitioners and academic specialists to reflect on the challenges which must be faced if the enlarging Union is to make this new form of governance work.
"With the arrival of the single currency, it is all the more necessary to place the question of employment high on the European agenda. Even if the European Employment Strategy has succeeded in stimulating job creation by applying 'convergence stress' on the Member States, it must be recognised that the results of the strategy are still mediocre. Against this background, this book is a very timely contribution to an in-depth and open discussion of the Luxembourg process."
Jean-Claude Juncker, Prime Minister of Luxembourg.