Can the German post-Hartz model of the labour market be considered as a universal remedy for unemployment in the European Union?
The objective of this chapter is to present the German post-Hartz labour market model and to discuss its spectacular effectiveness in combating unemployment and raising the employment rate during the 2008+ economic crisis. The effectiveness of Germany’s labour market during the economic crisis at the beginning of the 21st century provided the impetus to look for answers to the question of what set Germany apart in dealing with the wave of unemployment that swept through Europe after 2008. This chapter examines how the Hartz reforms introduced in 2003–2005 changed the German labour market model in terms of flexibility, quality of job placement services, security of income for unemployed persons and active instruments of support for integrating the unemployed within the labour market. Traditional mechanisms applied in the German economy, such as the dual system of vocational education, working time accounts and short-time work, and additional processes, the absence of any significant drop in demand for German products after 2008, pension system reform and a shrinkage in the domestic labour pool due to the ageing of German society are also discussed in this chapter. They are seen as complementary elements to the Hartz reforms responsible for the effective performance of the German labour market in the decade of economic crisis in Europe.