The European Employment Strategy originated in the Treaty of Amsterdam of 1997. It focuses on trying to reduce unemployment and raise the employment rate, primarily through supply-side measures. Thus, the four pillars of the strategy identified in the original Treaty emphasized employability (i.e. training and development of the European workforce), entrepreneurship (e.g. encouraging small business and self-employment), adaptability on the part of workers and legal structures (e.g. promoting contingent work), and equal opportunities between men and women, which can be construed as removing barriers to the effective operation of the free labour market (see flexicurity). Another key feature of the strategy, which continues to evolve, is an avoidance of ‘command and control’ law to secure member state compliance. Instead, there is an emphasis on benchmarking across member states and the development of a policy consensus through the open method of coordination. The strategy resembles the UK's welfare-to-work policy and, in fact, the labour market policies of the UK have been endorsed by the European Commission in its review of member states' adherence to the European Employment Strategy.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.