This book investigates to what extent and how the European Semester impacts on national employment policy in four EU member states of the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region.

Using an original theoretical and methodological framework, and based on empirical evidence from extensive interviews with experts in the field, this book examines the relation between EU preferences, exemplified by the yearly list of country-specific recommendations, and national policy responses to EU suggestions, tracing the extent to which policy change can be attributed to the influence of the European Semester. It extracts three potential mechanisms of European Semester influence on policy change: External pressure, mutual learning and creative appropriation and identifies key contributing and inhibiting factors. The book provides several policy recommendations regarding the organisation and workings of the European Semester process.

This text will be of key interest to students, academics and practitioners in European and EU politics, EU socio-economic governance, EU social policy, European integration, soft Europeanization and the Europeanization of Central and Eastern Europe.

chapter 1|26 pages

Employment policy in the European Semester

An introduction

chapter 2|42 pages

Theorizing the influence of the European Semester

Mechanisms, conditions and policy change

chapter 3|38 pages


Cherry-picking from the European Semester

chapter 4|26 pages


A case of neglect?

chapter 5|30 pages


Reinforcing existing trajectories

chapter 6|36 pages


Crisis pressure, socialization and strategic use of the European Semester

chapter 8|14 pages