Assessing Germany´s National Action Plan on Employment

Presentation (Elaboration), 2004

10 Pages, Grade: 1,5 (A)


Table of Contents

1. European Employment Strategy: Framework and initiator for the National Action Plans

2. Germany´s National Action Plan 2002 in the light of the EES
2.1. Influence of the EES on the German employment policy
2.2. Impact of the EES on employment in Germany and future anticipations .

3. Conclusion


1. European Employment Strategy: Framework and initiator for the National Action Plans

The European Employment Strategy (EES) is a co-ordinated European approach to employment policy. Moreover it is the framework and the initiator for the annual National Action Plans (NAPs) issued by the Member States of the European Union (EU).

The origins of the EES lie in the former EU Commission´s President Delors´”White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment” from 1993 and mark a turning point in the field of employment policy, that had before always been a national task, supported solely by elements of intergovernmental cooperation, mainly promoted by the European Commission. Yet in the light of preparing a European Monetary Union, the Member States had to realize that traditional employment creation policies as the adjustment of national interest rates had become obsolete and the common market needed a coordination at Community level[1].

Due to this the European Council in Essen, Germany, in 1994, agreed on five key objectives, called the "Essen Strategy" , to be pursued by the Member States: the development of human resources through vocational training, the promotion of productive investments through moderate wages policies, the improvement of the efficiency of labour market institutions, the identification of new sources of jobs through local initiatives, and the promotion of access to the world of work for some specific target groups such as young people, long-term unemployed people and women.

To legally back the EES and provide a long-term vision, the Treaty of Amsterdam in 1997, inserted a new Title on Employment in the Treaty of the European Communities (TEC), namely Art. 125-130 TEC, underlining a high level of employment as one of the key objectives of the European Union, being equally important as the macroeconomic objectives of growth and stability[2] .

While these new Treaty provisions maintained the Member States´ competence for employment policy, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission were endowed with a stronger role and more forceful tools, for example a framework for a country surveillance procedure (Art. 128 TEC), comparable to the strategy used during the preparation of the European Monetary Union: Member States' employment policies were supposed to be examined through an annual Joint Employment Report established by the Commission and the Council. Furthermore, the Commission should propose and the Council should adopt by qualified majority vote annual Employment Guidelines for the Member States, which target should be aligned on the best performing countries (benchmarking). Based on these guidelines Member States would develop National Action Plans for Employment and annually report their implementation to the Commission and the Council[3].

Finally the Commission would propose and the Council adopt Recommendations to individual Member States[4].

This programme was launched at the Luxembourg Jobs Summit in November 1997, consisting of around 18 guidelines distributed over four pillars, which were in fact a reformulation of the “Essen Strategy”: 1. improving employability, 2. entrepreneurship and job creation, 3. adaptability of employees and businesses, 4. equal opportunities policies for men and women[5].

The ambition of the EES was to achieve a decisive progress on the labour market within five years[6]. Yet already at the Lisbon European Council in 2000, after the three year review of the EES, the goals were further extended to a broad ten-year strategy for the EU aimed at reaching full employment and a 70% employment rate target by 2010 with annual growth of 3%. The Stockholm European Council in 2001 added two intermediate and one additional target: to raise the employment rate to 67% overall by 2005, 57% for women by 2005 and 50% for older workers by 2010[7].

Though none of the measures of the EES does legally bind the Member States. That is why some political scientists have criticized this compromise as being on the lowest common denominator and an exercise in symbolic politics[8]. For instance Leibfried and Pierson argue that the EES does not provide any fiscal instruments beyond the European Social Fund, contrary to the economic and monetary union. Therefore it cannot be regarded as a genuine EU employment policy but rather as a co-ordination of national employment initiatives[9].

In fact, not only did the EES introduce a new policy field at the Community level, but it also started the Open Method of Co-operation (OMC):

“The OMC is a new regulatory mode which insists on the non-compulsory character of rules, their flexibility and openness, their decentralised nature, and the plurality of actors involved and which contrasts with the main features of the traditional `Community method´.”[10]

Scharpf views the commitment to compare and evaluate national policies, sharing information about best practices and promote innovative approaches as a fruitful basis to explore employment policy options detached from the immediate political pressure of national politics[11].


[1] Janine Goetschy: The future of the European Employment Strategy. In: Mückenberger, Ulrich (ed.): Manifesto Social Europe. Brussels: ETUI, 2001, p.152.

[2] European Commission: European Employment Strategy – Origins.

[3] European Commission: National Action Plans on Employment 2002.

[4] European Commission: European Employment Strategy – Origins.

[5] Council: Council Decision of 18.02.2002 on guidelines for the Member States` employment policies for the year 2002, Official Journal of the European Communities 1.3.2002, 2002/177/EC.

[6] James S. Mosher/ David M.Trubek: Alternative Approaches to Governance in the EU: EU Social Policy and the European Employment Strategy. In: Begg, Iain / Peterson, John (ed.): Journal of Common Market Studies 41 (1). Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2003, p.68.

[7] European Commission: European Employment Strategy – Origins.

[8] Achim Wolter/ Rolf Hasse: Gemeinsame Beschäftigungspolitik: überfällig oder überflüssig? Wirtschaftsdienst No. 77. Heidelberg: Springer, 1997, p.386-389.

[9] Stephan Leibfried/ Paul Pierson: Social Policy. Left to Courts and Markets? In: Wallace, Helen/Wallace, William: Policy Making in the European Union. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, p.275.

[10] Janine Goetschy: The European Employment Strategy and the open method of coordination: lessons and perspectives. In: Transfer, European Review of Labour and Research, Vol. 9, 2/2003. Antwerp: Keesing Publishers, 2003, p.282.

[11] Fritz W. Scharpf: Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic? New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, p.159.

Excerpt out of 10 pages


Assessing Germany´s National Action Plan on Employment
Hamburg University of Ecomomy and Policy  (European Studies)
European Employment Policy
1,5 (A)
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
File size
354 KB
Assessing, Germany´s, National, Action, Plan, Employment, European, Employment, Policy
Quote paper
Joanna Mastalerek (Author), 2004, Assessing Germany´s National Action Plan on Employment, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Assessing Germany´s National Action Plan on Employment

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free