The double voluntarism in EU social dialogue and employment policy

Armin Schäfer, Simone Leiber


In this article, we analyse the development of new modes of governance in EU employment and social policy over the past two decades. In this field, a number of innovations can be observed. First, with the Maastricht Treaty, the right to draw up legislation was given to European social partners. Second, with the European Employment Strategy and the Open Method of Coordination, new instruments of coordinating national policies were introduced to EU policy-making. Recently, the latter instrument was incorporated into the social dialogue. Hence, we contend that a double voluntarism takes places that not only delegates responsibility for social policy to the social partners but also relies on soft rather than on hard law.


corporatism; governance; social dialogue; open coordination; employment policy; political science

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