Labour market efficiency has become a major topic of political debates and legal reforms in the European Union during the 1980s and 1990s. Supported by neo-liberal economic policies at the national and supranational level, the majority of Member States of the European Union embarked on policies of deregulation of labour markets based on the neo-classical concepts of the market economy and reduced or minimal welfare states. In some countries these efforts form part of a wider programme ofderegulation of economies and privatisation of nationalised industries and public enterprises.