The Eu's Inclusive Labour Market Approach and the Role of the European Social Partners: Effective and Balanced Multi-Level Governance?

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW2.1.02 (Tower Two)
Maarten Keune, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
The EU’s inclusive labour market approach and the role of the European social partners: effective and balanced multi-level governance?

Maarten Keune, AIAS-UvA

This paper focuses on the relationship between active inclusion strategies and their implementation on the one hand and industrial relations on the other at the level of the European Union. It takes the perspective of multi-level governance as proposed by Keune and Marginson (2013). It concerns first  the analysis of the strategies, objectives and underlying discourses and theories of EU policies aimed at fostering inclusive labour markets, including social exclusion, labour market segmentation and long-term unemployment. Second, it discussed the way the European trade unions and employers’ organizations deal with the issue of inclusive labour markets in terms of their own strategies, objectives and underlying discourses and theories, how they react to the proposals and initiatives of the Commission in this field and how they interact on this issue within the framework of the European social dialogue.

It then takes a closer look at the Framework Agreement on Inclusive Labour Markets the European social partners concluded in 2010 (ETUC et al. 2010). It analyses the content, objectives and underlying philosophies of the agreement, the way it reflects the power relations between the European social partners as well as its implementation strategies. It then turn to the way it addresses and involves national and sectoral or territorial member organisations to assure the effective implementation in the member states, making use of the social partners evaluation studies. It will give special attention here to the Southern European countries.

It then discusses to what extent their actions are horizontally coordinated at the EU level through cooperation with other European actors as well as through actions that integrate the various policy fields and social groups important for active inclusion. It also discusses to what extent their actions are vertically coordinated i.e. between the European, national and sector or territorial level.

It then concludes by evaluating the effectiveness and balanced nature of the multi-level governance approach in the case of inclusive labour markets


ETUC, BusenessEurope, CEEP and UEAPME (2010) Framework Agreement on Inclusive Labour Markets, Brussels.

Keune, M. and Marginson, P. (2013) ‘Transnational industrial relations as multi-level governance: vertical and horizontal interdependencies in European social dialogue’, British Journal of Industrial Relations, 50 Anniversary issue 2013, Vol. 51, No. 3: 473-497.