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Flexicurity Meets State Traditions

Guglielmo Meardi
International Journal of Comparative Labour Law and Industrial Relations, 27, 3, 255-70

Abstract

This article presents a theoretical and empirical discussion of the effects of the Europeanization of employment policies, arguing that the interaction with state traditions in industrial relations is a complex one, which may mediate or even distort European Union (EU) policies. State traditions do not imply strong path dependence nor coherence and immutability of national 'models', as theorized by dominant institutionalist approaches, but, as described by Crouch in 1993, influence the interactions between actors, who then mediate internationalization pressures. The European Employment Strategy (EES) confirms this. A quantitative analysis of employment policy indicators does not reveal significant distinctive convergence effects, and a qualitative analysis of the EU countries that have implemented the most far-reaching labour market changes ( Germany, Italy, and the new Member States) confirms the precedence of national over European politics, which tend to be characterized by the use of rhetorical tools for national actors. This article presents a theoretical and empirical discussion of the effects of the Europeanization of employment policies, arguing that the interaction with state traditions in industrial relations is a complex one, which may mediate or even distort European Union (EU) policies. State traditions do not imply strong path dependence nor coherence and immutability of national 'models', as theorized by dominant institutionalist approaches, but, as described by Crouch in 1993, influence the interactions between actors, who then mediate internationalization pressures. The European Employment Strategy (EES) confirms this. A quantitative analysis of employment policy indicators does not reveal significant distinctive convergence effects, and a qualitative analysis of the EU countries that have implemented the most far-reaching labour market changes ( Germany, Italy, and the new Member States) confirms the precedence of national over European politics, which tend to be characterized by the use of rhetorical tools for national actors. This article presents a theoretical and empirical discussion of the effects of the Europeanization of employment policies, arguing that the interaction with state traditions in industrial relations is a complex one, which may mediate or even distort European Union (EU) policies. State traditions do not imply strong path dependence nor coherence and immutability of national 'models', as theorized by dominant institutionalist approaches, but, as described by Crouch in 1993, influence the interactions between actors, who then mediate internationalization pressures. The European Employment Strategy (EES) confirms this. A quantitative analysis of employment policy indicators does not reveal significant distinctive convergence effects, and a qualitative analysis of the EU countries that have implemented the most far-reaching labour market changes ( Germany, Italy, and the new Member States) confirms the precedence of national over European politics, which tend to be characterized by the use of rhetorical tools for national actors.