Europeanisation, Policy Concertation and Labour Market Reforms in Small European States: a Comparative Analysis.

(2009) NCCR Democracy Working Papers 34 (with Yannis Papadopoulos)

This paper assesses the impact of Europeanisation on domestic policy concertation in small European States, understood as close collaboration of governments, trade unions and employers in the elaboration of policies. In order to assess the causal relationship between European integration and policy concertation, we compare labour market reforms in three countries (Austria, Belgium and Switzerland) across two policy sectors: one where the EU factor is strong (the opening of labour markets for the new EU member states that joined in 2004) and one where it is relatively weak (reforms of unemployment compensation) in order to control for the impact of Europeanisation. Results show that even though European integration does have an impact on policy procedures, it can also foster corporatist compromises through different causal paths (notably through the formation of cross-class interest coalitions). European integration influences concertation in a sometimes counterintuitive way both within and across countries.

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