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Start European Employment and Labour Market Policy
Book article The Search for Europe: Contrasting Approaches

European Employment and Labour Market Policy

Development | Europe | European Central Bank | Labour market | Politics
Estimated reading time Time 27 to read
European policy strategy has shifted from maintaining a balance between expanding market forces and social development policy to an attitude espousing a neoliberal insistence for deregulation and the strengthening of markets. This change has had negative consequences for employment and labour policy. The relationship between consumption and job security has not been adequately addressed, and the implications of risk and uncertainty for the distribution of income have not been determined. Nor is there any response to the consequences of mass migration following the admission of new member states from Central and Eastern Europe.

The European project has always been primarily a market-making one, not very interested in social policy. However, for most of the history of the European Union and its predecessors, there have been compromises, often creative ones, between markets and social policy, or at least mutual respect for different spheres of competence (Scharpf 1999). Recently, however, the EU has become a more aggressively market-making force, attacking areas of social policy formerly understood to be beyond the scope of that strategy.

The EU has become a more aggressively market-making force, attacking areas of social policy formerly not contemplated

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