EU Socio-Economic Governance in Central and Eastern Europe: The European Semester and National Emplo

AcknowledgementsAbbreviationsStudying the influence of the European Semester on policy changeContextReformed EU economic governance and the purpose of this studyFrom the European Employment Strategy to the European SemesterScope of the study and focus on CEEResearch puzzle and research questionOverview of chaptersEU employment policy coordination before and after the crisisFrom Luxembourg to Europe 2020: Applying the OMCReinventing EU employment coordination under the European SemesterKey European Semester coordination processesEuropean Semester timelineChanges in the European Semester’s policy orientation and proceduresEuropean Semester streamliningDifferentiated empowerment of European Semester actors?NotesTheorizing the influence of the European Semester: Mechanisms, conditions and policy changeNew intergovernmentalist foundationPolicy formulation and adoptionSource of influence and alternative explanationsWhat influence? Defining influence and forms of influence in the European SemesterLinking X to Y: The mechanisms of European Semester influenceExternal pressureHow the mechanism operatesTheoretical foundationWhen does external pressure (not) work?Condition 1: Credibility of rulesCondition 2: Political constraintsCondition 3: Process socializationCondition 4: Attitude towards the EUCondition 5: Cost of defection (dependence)Mutual learningHow the mechanism operatesTheoretical foundationWhen does mutual learning (not) work?Condition 1: Deliberation and consensus-buildingCondition 2: Politico-administrative relationsCondition 3: Policy attributesCondition 4: Policy paradigms and legaciesCreative appropriationHow the mechanism operatesTheoretical foundationsWhen does creative appropriation (not) work?Condition 1: Programmatic fitCondition 2: Prospect of rewardsCondition 3: Policy entrepreneursCondition 4: Attitude towards EUSummary and limitations to the theoretical frameworkMethodology: Making use of process-tracingProcess-tracingWeighting the evidence—which observable implications?Triangulation of the sources of evidenceCountry-case selection and comparison of casesNotesCroatia: Cherry-picking from the European SemesterPolitics in Croatia: Dominance of two parties, clientelism and government instabilityCroatia’s relationship with the EU: Playing hot and coldEconomic, social and employment policy developments in recent yearsEuropean Semester governance in CroatiaThe process of national coordination of the European Semester in CroatiaParticipation in the Employment Committee and multi-level governanceInvolvement of social partners and the Croatian parliamentCroatia’s employment issues, reforms and the influence of the European semesterReform of the public employment service and active labour market policiesActivation of social assistance recipientsAdult educationReform of the Labour ActVocational education and trainingPension reformYouth GuaranteeConclusionNotesHungary: A case of neglect?Political system of Hungary: A Fidesz-dominated political environmentHungary’s relationship with the EU: Orbán’s soft EuroscepticismThe economic, social and employment policies in Orbán’s HungaryEuropean Semester governance in HungaryThe process of national coordination of the European Semester in HungaryHungary in the Employment CommitteeInvolvement of social partners and the Hungarian parliamentHungary’s employment issues, reforms and the influence of the European SemesterUnemployment benefitsChildcare facilitiesTax burden on poor workersPES capacity and profiling systemPublic works schemeYouth GuaranteeConclusionNotesSlovakia: Reinforcing existing trajectoriesPolitical system of Slovakia: From isolationist Meciarism to Smer ruleSlovakia’s relations with the EU: A pragmatic actor committed to European integrationEconomic, social and employment policies in SlovakiaEuropean Semester governance in SlovakiaThe process of national coordination of the European Semester in SlovakiaSlovakia in the Employment Committee and relations with DG EMPLInvolvement of social partners and the Slovak parliamentSlovakia’s employment issues, reforms and the influence of the European SemesterRetirement age and life expectancyAdministrative capacity of the PESActivation of social assistance recipientsTax-wedge on low-income earnersParticipation of women with children on the labour marketAction plan on long-term unemploymentYouth GuaranteeConclusionNotesSlovenia: Crisis pressure, socialization and strategic use of the European SemesterPolitical context: Consensual politics in an ever-fragmented political environmentRelationship with the EU: Euroscepticism only in tracesGradualist economic development, strong welfare state and neglected employment policyEuropean Semester governance in SloveniaThe process of national coordination of the European Semester in SloveniaMulti-level coordination in the European SemesterInvolvement of social partners and the Slovenian parliamentSlovenia’s employment challenges, reform efforts and the influence of the European SemesterMinimum wageActivation of vulnerable groupsPension and labour market reformsLabour market reformsPension reformExplanation of outcomesYouth Guarantee and student workConclusionNotesHow does the European Semester influence employment policies in Central and Eastern Europe?The variegated impact of external pressureThe untapped potential of mutual learningPervasiveness of creative appropriation in the European SemesterThe importance of alternative pathways of change and inertiaNoteSummary of the findingsKey empirical takeawaysContribution to the literatureIncreasing the effectiveness of EU employment coordinationReaping positive synergiesIncreasing efficiency: Less is moreImproving the quality of multi-level cooperationDemocratization of the Semester: Fostering legitimacy and ownership
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