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Policy-Making in the European Union

Policy-Making in the European Union (7th edn)

Helen Wallace, Mark A. Pollack, and Alasdair R. Young
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date: 12 August 2022

p. 29312. Employment Policy

Between Efficacy and Experimentationlocked

p. 29312. Employment Policy

Between Efficacy and Experimentationlocked

  • Martin Rhodes


This chapter focuses on the European Union’s employment policy, which is currently formulated and implemented via several parallel modes of policy-making, including the standard Community method of legislating and a softer mode of policy-making and innovation via the European Employment Strategy (EES). The chapter begins with a discussion of the three modes of policy-making and governance in European employment policy that have been developed since the 1960s: the mode of legislated ‘rights’, based on the classical Community method; the mode of ‘law via collective agreement’; and a ‘new’ mode of governance, using the open method of coordination. It then considers employment policy-making before the Treaty of Amsterdam and employment policy innovations post-Amsterdam. It also examines social and employment vs economic rights in EU law and concludes with an assessment of future prospects for EU employment policy.

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