Chapter

Social investment or recommodification? Assessing the employment policies of the EU member states<sup>1</sup>

Edited by Caroline de la Porte and Kerstin Jacobsson

in Towards A Social Investment Welfare State?

Published by Policy Press

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9781847429247
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447305613 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847429247.003.0005
Social investment or recommodification? Assessing the employment policies of the EU member states1

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This chapter assesses the achievements and shortcomings of the European Employment Strategy (EES) in shifting national labour market policies towards a social investment agenda. The impact of the EES is mediated by institutional legacies, economic and financial situations, and political priorities and agendas in the member states. The chapter argues that the contradictory pressures for social and economic reform from the EU pose a challenge for all member states, in particular for the new member states, which have been pursuing a different reform path. In all countries studied, it is domestic challenges rather than the EU agenda that have been determining labour market policy, where economic and financial priorities have driven forward employment reform. While the full employment model has been embraced at the level of discourse, the reforms undertaken have been in the direction of recommodification, rather than towards comprehensive social investment in human resources. If the labour market component of social investment was only partially achieved before the financial crisis, it is even more of a challenge in the midst of it.

Keywords: activation; labour market policy; European Employment Strategy; social investment; welfare regimes; recommodification

Chapter.  12497 words. 

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