This book examines how and to what extent the European Employment Strategy and the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on Social Protection and Social Inclusion have influenced national labour market and social welfare policies. Focusing on the implementation of the OMC in different national environments, this book examines how the proposals and targets of the OMC are interpreted and implemented within the context of existing national employment and welfare regimes.At a theoretical level and on the basis of national case studies, the book considers how OMC objectives, guidelines, targets, and recommendations may reshape the domestic institutional framework, how learning and participation of governmental bodies are organized across different hierarchical levels, and how non-state actors may be involved in the formulation and implementation of national reform plans. The authors conclude that the OMC has contributed significantly to both substantive and procedural reforms, in spite of the many institutional barriers to Europeanization in this policy area.
Featuring comparative case studies across a number of European states, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, political science, public policy, and international relations.
Introduction Martin Heidenreich and Jonathan Zeitlin. The Open Method of Coordination: A Pathway to the Gradual Transformation of National Employment and Welfare Regimes? Martin Heidenreich. Neither Convergence nor Frozen Paths: Bounded Learning, International Diffusion of Reforms, and the Open Method of Coordination Jelle Visser. Unemployment Protection Reform in Belgium, Finland, the Netherlands, and the UK: Policy Learning through Open Coordination? Minna van Gerven and Mieke Beckers. The Open Method of Coordination and National Social Policy Reforms in Belgium and France: Window Dressing, One-Way Impact, or Reciprocal Influence? Marie-Pierre Hamel and Bart Vanhercke. Joining the European Employment Strategy: Europeanization of Employment Policy Making in the Baltic States Kerstin Jacobsson and Charlotte West Soft. Europeanization? The Differential Influence of the European Employment Strategy in Belgium, Spain, and Sweden Mariely Lopez-Santana. North, South, East, West: The Implementation of the European Employment Strategy in Denmark, the UK, Spain, and Poland Mikkel Mailand. The Micro-Politics of the Open Method of Coordination: NGOs and the Social Inclusion Process in Sweden Kerstin Jacobsson and Hakan Johansson. Europeanization of Domestic Employment and Welfare Regimes: The German, Italian, and French Experiences Jenny Preunkert and Sascha Zirra. The Open Method of Coordination and Reform of National Social and Employment Policies: Influences, Mechanisms, Effects Jonathan Zeitlin