Is a term developed by political scientists to refer to the complex political process in the European Union, in which policy decisions are taken at European, national, and sub-national levels. The term has been adopted by industrial relations specialists to describe the regulation of the labour market in the European Union, in which directives, soft law, and framework agreements are developed at European level and are supplemented by additional employment rules formulated at national, sectoral, regional, and workplace levels. An important aspect of the concept is that it describes a ‘non-hierarchical’ system: it is not the case that the most important regulation is at European level, with rules being ‘cascaded’ downwards and shaping national practice. On the contrary, influences within the emerging European system of industrial relations are bottom-up, as well as top-down, and developments at national level are often of far greater significance than those at the supranational, European level. [See also open method of coordination and subsidiarity.]
Subjects: Human Resource Management — Politics.