How does extending markets across national borders impact national institutions regulating labour markets? This paper addresses this question by analysing resistance in Germany to the European Commission’s draft Directive on an Internal Market for Services (COM(2004) 2 final/3). It demonstrates how the Commission’s initial attempt to integrate European service markets threatened to accelerate changes in the institutional structure of post-war German industrial relations. The paper shows how a broad spectrum of social and political interests in Germany united in successful opposition to this threat. It also demonstrates, however, that this resistance only postponed institutional reform in German labour markets and pushed the reform process—temporarily—from European to German legislative arenas. This study demonstrates that European market liberalisation, rather than driving the German state from labour markets, is pushing it to take a more active role in regulating employment. It also provides observations about processes of institutional change
This article seeks to examine what factors influenced the Aznar government’s support of the US-led invasion of Iraq to understand the Spanish symbolic contribution to this operation as part of the Coalition of the Willing, a decision that appeared focused on the short-term benefits for Spain rather than the long-term benefits for Iraq or the international community.
Despite an initial delay in post-communist reforms and opening the EU accession process, Bulgaria and Romania have already succeeded in becoming EU members while Croatia is just a ‘step away’ from full membership status. Although considerably behind these three, the remaining (Western) Balkan states have been progressing fairly well in the association negotiations (i.e. Stabilisation and Association Process) with the European Union since the early 2000s and expect to officially open negotiations for accession (as is the case with FYR Macedonia) or get full candidate status by the end of 2009 or in 2010 at the latest. However, on their way to Europe, these countries have still to overcome some challenges which the previous EU membership candidates from post-communist Europe faced to a significantly lesser extent or not at all. Focusing on the problems of the increased toughness of EU accession criteria due to the declining public support in the ‘old’ EU member states for further EU enlargement and on the interior political instability in the countries of the Western Balkans, caused primarily by their still ‘undefined’ statehood status, this paper investigates the character and strength of the remaining obstacles for further enlargement of the European Union into the Balkan region.
As national economies become increasingly knowledge-based, the education sector is witnessing an evolution of its goals and methods. The European Commission’s Lisbon Strategy, initially vaguely aimed at making the European Union’s economy more dynamic and competitive when it was first laid out at the March 2000 Lisbon Summit, was redefined in Spring 2005 and now revolves around the concepts of growth and jobs. The Commission recommends investment in the knowledge economy by investing in R&D, innovation, and education and lifelong learning. As Bulgaria has the lowest GDP per capita of all the EU-27 MS, an examination of its current situation regarding the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy can serve as an example of the problems facing the poorer countries of the EU. Problems may not be as obvious or pressing in the richer Member States, but may be more so in the poorer Member States.