This article analyses the role of the OECD through its “Jobs Strategy” and the European Union (EU) through the “European Employment Strategy” in the development of macro-economic, employment and labour market policy in the Czech Republic. As a full member of the two organisations, the Czech Republic has been subject to their soft non-binding policy advice in the area of labour market reform. The OECD and EU policy models are similar, both insisting on growth-oriented macro-economic policy, supported by active labour market policies, an active and effective public employment service (PES) and the de-regulation of labour markets. However, the OECD actively advocates private actor involvement in labour markets, while the EU insists on the role of the public sector. The inquisitive styles of the two organisations differ: the OECD has a decontextualised and quantified analysis of performance accompanied by a supportive in-depth qualitative analysis, while the EU has a more contextualised analysis, which is also more politicised. However, the EU’s policy is partially supported by European structural funds, while the OECD has no comparable instrument. Despite some differences in policy model and inquisitive style, both the OECD and the EU have given the same major policy recommendations over time to the Czech Republic, although the OECD has insisted more on de-regulation, whereas the EU has also emphasised worker security and anti-discrimination. In macro-economic policy, de-regulation and increasing flexibility on the labour market, the Czech Republic conforms with OECD and EU policy models and recommendations. The PES has been developed institutionally to fit both models. However, activation, shifts in expenditure from passive to active labour market policy, training and placement of the PES have not changed substantially since the Czech Republic became member of the EU, suggesting that the real impact of the OECD and the EU has been weak.
Lisbon strategy, policy coordination, employment policy, policy framing, institutional capabilities
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