Flexicurity: The Emergence of a European Concept

By Sonja Bekker

Flexicurity has been a core concept in the EU's employment debates as of 2006 and was codified into common principles of flexicurity in December 2007. Flexicurity remains an important part of the Europe 2020 Strategy and the flagship agenda for new skills and jobs, and is seen as an alternative for one-sided liberalization tendencies. This study explains the development and conclusion of the EU's flexicurity concept. How did actors finally come to agree on such a complex and sensitive issue? The book first derives theoretical preconditions for the emergence of flexicurity from new governance theory and flexicurity literature, and adds as an alternative explanatory theory the concept of power. The research combines the process tracing and congruence techniques to analyze the policy-making process, including elite interviews with core policy-makers and document analyses. The study found more than 20 factors to explain the emergence of flexicurity, suggesting that a wide variety of variables which interact in a complex web of events and actions form the basis of any flexicurity agreement. This includes the involvement of actors in developing the concept, the exchange of ideas and viewpoints, and taking an integrative and balanced approach to labor market problems and its solutions. Viewing the whole process, both elements of new governance and of the role of power contribute to explaining the emergence of the EU's flexicurity concept. The appropriateness of both new governance and political theories suggests that these theories may complement each other in explaining the flexicurity outcome. (Series: Social Europe - Vol. 30)

348 pages

Publication Date: 12/31/2012
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781780680910