The construction of EU's childcare policy through the Open Method of Coordination

Elissaveta Radulova

Abstract


This article elaborates analysis of the normative foundations of the European Union's policy for reconciliation of work and family life, with a specific focus on the shifts produced by the introduction of the Open Method of Coordination in the field of childcare policy. The main objective is to examine how childcare has been conceptualised for the purposes of EU public-policy making throughout the years of European integration (1951-2008) and whether the endorsement of the European Employment Strategy (EES) in 1997 has made an impact on this process. Adopting a constructivist analytical framework and policy frame analysis as main research method, the paper maps out the contemporary policy problematizations related to childcare provision, and traces their presence and dynamic development at the EU level. Based on a keyword search in the database of European Union law Eur-Lex, a dataset of 83 documents (42 pieces of secondary legislation and 41 Presidency Conclusions) is formed. The latter is subsequently examined through qualitative content analysis. The study reveals the normative and cognitive evolution of the policy-making process prior to and after the introduction of EES.

Keywords


discourse; policy analysis; EU gender policy; open coordination; European Social Model; policy coordination; political science

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