THE OMC AND PENSIONS POLICIES: ITALY AND EUROPE
In the European Union the organization and management of pensions systems is the exclusive concern of the member states; since 2001, however, community intervention on pensions has been envisaged through the Open Method of Coordination (OMC). This article considers the contents of OMC-pensions and their capacity to influence national pensions policies, with particular reference to Italy; it also assesses the extent to which the public contributions system introduced in Italy by the 1995 reform makes it possible to pursue different aims on the basis of the open method of coordination (sustainability, adequacy and modernization), also identifying the main critical features in the system.
THE ROLE OF THE OECD AND THE EU IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF LABOUR MARKET POLICY IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
This article analyses the role of the OECD through its “Jobs Strategy” and the 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 and the de-regulation of labour markets, but the OECD actively advocates private actor involvement in labour markets, while the EU insists on the role of the public sector. The The public employment service – key for both organisations – has been developed institutionally to fit both models. However, the effect is weak since activation, shifts in expenditure from passive to active labour market policy, training and placement of the PES has not changed substantially since the Czech Republic became member of the EU, suggesting the real impact of the OECD and also the EU, even when accompanied by the ESF, is weak.
EUROPEANIZATION OF SOCIAL POLICIES: THE CASE OF PORTUGAL
The article analyses how three different instruments of European social policy with different convergence capacity have been implemented in Portugal and try to understand the factors that explain the different degrees of change in domestic policies in response to European pressures. Herein, the author claims that the reasons for compliance rest in the combination of a conducive context created by a strong European legacy in domestic policies with the convergence between the European pressure and the domestic policy agenda in policy arenas whose characteristics facilitate policy change. The author makes the case that there is no dualism between a politicisation and a socialisation approach. In fact, even considering the predominance of politicization mechanisms, he argues that when compliance occurs, both mechanisms are present. The argument is that responses to European pressures reflect not only the introduction of new incentive structures but also the creation of new patterns of social relations. And this is particularly true for European social policies.