The European Employment Strategy and Active Employment Policies in Denmark, the Netherlands and United Kingdom: Path-dependent or converging policy-development?

Stella Dyrberg-Jacobsen & Katrine Holsbæk

Studenteropgave: Speciale


The European Employment Strategy (EES) and the process of Open Method of Coordination (OMC) have key roles in ensuring that the European Member States reach the Lisbon Targets by 2010. The EES promotes active employment policies, and this dissertation compares and analyses active employment policies in three welfare states; United Kingdom, Denmark and the Netherlands. The analysis focuses on whether or not active employment policies in the three countries have converged towards the recommendations of the EES. The impact of the EES and OMC is widely discussed, and some of the main problems concern whether OMC has the ‘power’ to change welfare states. A macro-oriented regime framework for analysing the characteristics of different employment regimes is developed, including a distinction between path-dependent and path-breaking changes. Based on these distinctions, a categorisation of the regimes according to the three possible combinations of categories of instruments is utilised when establishing the development in the countries’ active employment policies. The study reveals that the countries’ different historical and institutional legacies mostly influence developments in national employment policies prior to 1997, and, hence, that the countries’ policy-developments are relatively path-dependent. But in the period after the launch of EES (after 1998) the study reveals that cross-country tendencies and convergence have emerged, which cannot be explained by the national policy-paths. Features of active employment policies and the rhetorical understanding of problems and solutions regarding unemployment have, to a varying extent, converged within the United Kingdom, Denmark and the Netherlands.

UddannelserForvaltning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jan. 2005
VejledereBent Greve


  • European Employment Strategy, EES
  • Netherlands
  • Denmark
  • United Kingdom
  • active employment policies