ChapterPDF Available

Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee



Comparing Germany, Spain and Greece, the article outlines that the implementation of the European Youth Guarantee was rather path dependent, in the sense of largely reproducing and strengthening a pre-existing approach of domestic youth unemployment policies. Nevertheless, by adopting a broader perspective on the impact of the YG, we can observe different forms of shifts in governance processes (procedural change) and in agendas (substantive changes). These changes are supported by mechanisms of vertical and horizontal coordination linked to the implementation of the YG. Overall, the changes in Southern European countries are bigger than in Germany. European financial support and a more notable institutional misfit with respect to settings for providing smooth school-to-work transition in Southern Europe than in Germany may have contributed to this difference.
9. Horizontal and vertical
coordination of the European
Youth Guarantee
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and
Marie-Luise Assmann
The European Union launched the Youth Guarantee (YG) in 2013 to
combat the increase in youth unemployment following the nancial
and economic crisis. The goal of the YG was to ensure that all young
people under the age of 25 would receive a high-quality, concrete oer of
employment or training within four months of leaving formal education
or becoming unemployed. The measures at national level were to combine
various activities: early intervention and activation, supportive measures
enabling labour market integration, assessment and continuous improve-
ment of the scheme, and its swift implementation. An additional emphasis
was to be placed on building up partnership-based approaches and
eective coordination across policy elds such as employment, education,
youth and social aairs (Council of the European Union, 2013).
To advance these goals, the EU for the rst time dedicated a specic budget
to youth employment policy, creating the Youth Employment Initiative
(YEI), which supplements the nancial aid provided under the European
Social Fund (ESF). The YEI budget was directed primarily at young people
not in employment, education or training (NEETs) who were living in
regions where youth unemployment rates were higher than 25 per cent in
2012 (European Commission, 2017c). In addition, the incorporation of the
YG into the Country Specic Recommendations of the European Semester
indicated that the scheme would be monitored more closely compared with
the implementation of other EU social policies. Altogether, decision makers
combined high expectations with particular support for the YG at EU level.
The goals conrm that the YG was rooted in the normative paradigms
of an activating labour market policy (Gilbert and Van Voorhis, 2001;
OECD, 1989) and a social investment welfare state (Giddens, 1998; Morel
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 184 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 185
et al., 2012). Comparative research has demonstrated dierent approaches
within these paradigms, namely a pro-market or work-rst approach in
contrast to a human-capital development/enabling approach (Bonoli, 2010;
Dingeldey, 2009, 2011a). A work-rst approach involves the prioritiza-
tion of immediate labour market integration of young unemployed
people, stressing, for example, subventions to employers. By contrast,
an ‘enabling’ approach treats improved qualications or upskilling as
the dominant goal of youth employment policies. The EU goals gave no
priority to one particular approach. The YG recommended the reduction
of labour costs and subsidies to employers, but also suggested improving
the quality of employment services and strengthening education and
vocational training (Council of the European Union, 2013).
The YG overall acknowledged the diversity of member states regard-
ing youth unemployment and institutional arrangements, nancial con-
straints and the capacity of the various labour market players (Council of
the European Union, 2013). In addition, the Commission stressed that in
most member states the implementation of the YG would require long-
term, in-depth structural reforms of training, job-search and education
systems to improve school-to-work transitions (European Commission,
2015b). Commission ocials characterized the YG as being a policy
approach rather than a programme with xed money and milestones. Its
value was to ‘oblige everybody to think globally about youth employment
programmes’ (Interview EC).
Despite its rather ambitious goals, the YG was subject to the Open
Method of Coordination. This method has been in use since 2001 in
sensitive areas such as European social and employment policies where
member states have not been willing to grant the EU political powers.
Hence, the ‘Recommendation’ is non-binding, rather it encourages overall
intergovernmental coordination, benchmarking and best practice without
threats of sanctions (Heidenreich, 2009; Heidenreich and Zeitlin, 2009).
To investigate the implementation of these ambitious goals by means of
rather limited, albeit strengthened forms of social policy governance, we
focus on the following questions:
How did instruments of vertical and horizontal coordination linked
to the YG work in a multi-level governance system?
To what extent do the goals and ideas related to the YG translate
into changes of national policies and institutions relevant to com-
batting youth unemployment?
To answer these questions and to be able to mirror the diversity across
member states, we chose contrasting cases for an in-depth comparison:
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 185 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
186 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
Germany as a country with low youth unemployment rates, and two
Southern European countries, Greece and Spain, as cases with high unem-
ployment rates and YEI eligibility. These countries also dier as regards
the institutional setting for supporting young people in their school-to-
work transitions via the vocational education and training systems and the
public employment service (PES).
Our presentation in this chapter proceeds as follows: Drawing on
existing research, we outline our theoretical framework and research
approach. Next, we describe the institutional preconditions and the
national approaches to youth employment policy prior to the YG in the
three countries studied. We present ndings related to the coordination
and implementation of the YG as well as to the procedural change
aligned to European policies (Section 4). Finally, we analyse the policy
development in search of substantive change in the three member states
(Section 5). We end with a brief recommendation for future policies
(Section 6).
Research on the European YG is still rather poorly developed. Yet, even
this limited research involves a controversy regarding the relevance and
impact of the YG. Critics have highlighted issues like undernancing with
respect to the number of young unemployed in the dierent countries
(Cabasés Piqué et al., 2015), as well as the limitations of soft modes of gov-
ernance seeking to inuence member states mainly through voluntarism
(De la Porte and Heins, 2015). Such criticism has culminated in claims that
YG implementation is dominated by a path-dependency logic and does
not lead to convergence of the specic elements addressed by the Council
Recommendation (Dhéret and Roden, 2016; Madsen et al., 2013). Other
scholars have argued that the link between European funding instruments
and the YG points to stricter forms of vertical coordination, generally in
combination with the European Semester. It follows that the YG is likely
to foster a greater degree of Europeanization, at least in countries eligible
for YEI funding (Costamagna, 2013; Dhéret and Roden, 2016).
To provide new knowledge about how the YG has worked and pos-
sibly changed national policies and institutions, we drew on historical
institutionalism theory (Pierson, 2000; Thelen, 1999) in combination
with a multi-level governance approach (Marks and Hooghe, 2004)
and the Europeanization literature (Börzel and Risse, 2006). Historical
institutionalism points to the importance of institutions in shaping policy
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 186 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 187
over time. The approach explains how actors tend to adapt to existing
institutions. Positive feedback processes restrict institutional change to a
path-dependent development (Pierson, 2000; Thelen, 1999). Accordingly,
external shocks like crisis, war or critical junctures may lead to path-
breaking changes (Pierson, 2000). Others, however, have pointed out
that policy learning may be a driver of change. More recent literature
also points to gradual institutional shifts that may lead to path-breaking
changes in the long run (Streeck and Thelen, 2005). To some extent, a
multi-level governance approach and the Europeanization literature have
integrated these explanations.
A multi-level governance approach outlines the institutional background
of regulations and competences between dierent levels. Furthermore,
the particular mode of governance is relevant. For instance, one would
consider the open method of coordination for the YG as a soft form
of governance. Zeitlin et al. (2014) have identied ve mechanisms for
inuencing member states’ social policies. These mechanisms include: (1)
external pressure (to meet commitments); (2) external support (nancial
or technical); (3) socialization and discursive diusion (internalization of
common cognitive frames via reviewing); (4) mutual learning (awareness
of policies, practices and performance in other member states); and (5)
creative appropriation (strategic use by dierent actors).
The Europeanization literature focuses on European integration as a
driver for domestic change. In order to explain dierent reform trajecto-
ries, however, scholars point to domestic institutional settings as relevant
inuence factors. Such settings may include the political system of a coun-
try, the particular forms of vertical governance structures within federal
states (Pierson, 1995) and the established institutions of the particular
welfare regimes (Weishaupt, 2014: 227). Moreover, this literature also
sees weak economic and administrative capacities as inuential factors
(Weishaupt, 2014) and mostly as obstacles to successful and unitary imple-
mentation of EU policies. However, another research strand contests this
view, arguing that adaption pressure increases with the mist between
European policy goals and national preconditions (Cowles et al., 2001;
Falkner et al., 2005). Beyond these dierent understandings of the mist
between European goals and national conditions, the Europeanization
approach tends to neglect the fact that EU policies are not the only
inuence on national policies. For instance, we have to consider whether
European-level policies really have initiated the adoption of the YG in a
member state. We need to carry out an empirical investigation to clarify
which of these competing assumptions best captures the situation in dif-
ferent member states.
To characterize the kinds of changes in the member states, we need
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 187 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
188 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
precise concepts of change. Building on the work of Weishaupt (2014),
we make a distinction between substantive and procedural changes.
Substantive changes are dened as ideational (shifts in positions of
actors), agenda-setting (weight that actors place on particular issues) or
programmatic (shifts in legislative and administrative rules and prac-
tices). Procedural changes are related to changing governance and poli-
cymaking arrangements. They include horizontal coordination (between
dierent policy elds/administrations) and involvement of non-state
actors, but also enhanced national steering capacity (monitoring evalu-
ation) and improved vertical coordination (i.e., between governance
levels). As we focus our analysis on the implementation of the YG, we
give less attention to decision-making processes. To explore substantive
changes, we limit our analysis of the YG to agenda-setting and program-
matic changes. With respect to procedural changes, we focus on two
aspects, namely reinforced coordination between dierent policy elds
or administrations and the increased involvement of non-state actors,
particularly of the social partners. In contrast to Weishaupt (2014), but
in accordance with YG guidelines (European Commission, 2017c), we
see these two aspects as being related to horizontal coordination (see
Table 9.1).
Drawing on the theoretical outline, the YG combines mechanisms of
external support with external pressure. We therefore expected a general
willingness of member states to comply with the respective YG goals and
started the empirical investigation with the following two hypotheses:
First, in line with the historical institutionalist approach, we expected
a path-dependent implementation of the YG according to the previ-
ously established youth employment policies of member states.
Table 9.1 Forms of change
Agenda-setting Salience of topics on political agendas in
the EU or member states
Programmatic New legislation or regulation
Integration between independent policy elds
via, e.g., inter-ministerial bodies or working
Involvement of
non-state actors
Creation and strengthening of consultative
and participatory structures of
policymaking and implementation
Source: Based on Weishaupt (2014).
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 188 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 189
Second, in line with the Europeanization literature, we expected
to nd substantive changes and procedural changes in Spain and
Greece rather than in Germany because of greater external support
and mist.
To assess the empirical support for the two hypotheses, we adopted a
three-pronged research approach:
First, to set a starting point in how to assess ‘change’, we examined
national institutional settings and policies in the eld of school-to-work
transitions. In line with Bonoli (2010) and Dingeldey’s (2011a) typologies
of activating employment policies, we distinguished between a work-rst
approach and an enabling approach. These approaches can be found
in combination with the institutionalization of dierent school-to-work
transitions guided by primarily school-based or dual vocational training
systems (Eichhorst et al., 2015; Solga et al., 2014). Gangl (2001) and Hora
et al. (Chapter 7 this volume) suggest that overall a dominant (dual)
apprenticeship system implies rather smooth transitions from school to
work, whereas in school-based systems a large proportion of low-skilled
labour market entrants and a lack of in-work experience together lead
to high youth unemployment. Additionally, the PES is important in
providing unemployment benets and services like counselling, placement
in training measures and jobs. Hence, relevant indicators for the ecient
implementation of such policies were the administrative capacity of the
respective PES (caseload and nancing), the incentives provided for young
unemployed people to register and the governance structure of the PES
Second, building on the Europeanization literature, we assessed the
particular European instruments of vertical coordination in relation to
the YG: the provision of EU funding and the ‘YG implementation plans’.
We treated EU funding through the YEI as a mechanism of external
support. We examined whether the EU achieved the goal of providing
particular support to countries with the highest problem pressure or if
specic regulations might have caused problems. We considered the YG
implementation plans both as mechanisms of external support as well as
external pressure. On the one hand, the plans provide a framework for
country-specic goal-setting, developing indicators and policy assistance
by European actors. On the other hand, these plans also put pressure on
member state governments, given that the European Semester monitors
their implementation. We understand the monitoring as a sort of external
pressure in the form of ‘naming, faming and shaming’ (Zeitlin et al.,
2014). We investigated whether the YG implementation plans were built
on a partnership approach, delivered according to the required rules
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 189 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
190 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
(punctuality) and/or whether a country had to reformulate the plans.
The investigation provides insights into how the mechanisms of vertical
coordination used inuenced procedural processes in the member states.
Third, we analysed whether the YG implementation was in line with the
previously established approach for youth policies or whether it followed
a dierent path, implying a need for substantive change. This assessment
is based on the analysis of national policy discourses, the newly introduced
programmes, and reform initiatives in the eld of employment and voca-
tional training.
As sources, we used secondary literature and ocial documents as
well as data from seven interviews with EU ocials and stakeholders
conducted in spring 2017. In addition, we drew on national reports written
by NEGOTIATE project partners based on four to ve expert interviews
conducted in summer 2016 in each country at national and local level.
Member states’ active labour market policy varied according to the level of
youth unemployment and the institutions of school-to-work transitions in
the three countries (see Table 9.2). When youth unemployment was high,
Table 9.2 Characteristics of youth employment policies in Germany,
Spain and Greece
Characteristics Countries
Germany Spain Greece
Youth unemployment Low High High
Youth labour market policy Enabling Work-rst Work-rst
for school-
Type of vocational
education and
training system
Dual system School-based
benets as
Moderate Very limited Very limited
Capacity of PES High Weak Weak
structure of PES
Centralized Non-
Source: Author’s interpretation.
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 190 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 191
member states tended to prioritize quick labour market integration, while
member states with lower youth unemployment rates were more likely
to provide support for vocational training. Dierences in education and
vocational training systems reinforced such contrasts. Accordingly, Spain
and Greece pursued a work-rst approach, where employment policy
was aimed at integrating young people quickly into jobs, for instance by
providing subsidies for employers (Ayllón and Ferreira-Batista, 2016;
Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016; OAED, 2013). By contrast, Germany
had practiced an enabling policy approach, where measures were focused
on the attainment of school or vocational training certicates as interme-
diate steps towards labour market integration (Dingeldey et al., 2017). The
historical development of the respective member states’ institutions sup-
porting young people in their school-to-work transitions had inuenced
these contrasts.
Germany has a long-established dual vocational training system. Since
the initial vocational education and training system at upper-secondary
level became popular, more than 50 per cent of all students have enrolled
in it. Although the social service professions have relied on school-based
vocational education and training systems, still more than 40 per cent of
all students have enrolled in the dual-track employment-based systems
(Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung, 2014; OECD, 2014).
By contrast, in Greece and Spain, a school-based vocational education
and training system has dominated, while work-based training has played
a minor to marginal role (OECD, 2014). Dual tracks either did not exist or
the governments provided only a few dual-track places (ReferNet Greece,
2009; ReferNet Spain, 2012; also see Dingeldey et al., 2017).
Despite trends towards municipalization in labour market policy and
decentralization in the context of New Public Management, the German
PES has remained a centralized national agency. Vertical coordination
has been strong, meaning the level of exibility in delivery at regional or
municipal level has been low (Dingeldey, 2011b; Mosley, 2008, 2011). In
2014 the capacity of the PES in Germany was high, with a comparably
low annual average caseload of less than 150 clients (of all clients served
by sta in the PES). The expenditure on such services (as a percentage of
GDP) was above the EU average of 28. The regulation of access to unem-
ployment benets gives moderate incentives for young people to register
with the PES, resulting in coverage rates of the young unemployed of 50
or more per cent in Germany (Matsaganis et al., 2013).
In Greece the structure of the PES and of labour market policy has
also remained centralized notwithstanding decentralization trends in
recent decades (Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016; Kyvelou and Marava,
2017). By contrast, the PES in Spain has been decentralized. The level of
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 191 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
192 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
exibility in delivery at the regional or municipal level has been medium
and the autonomous communities have even had their own vocational
education and training systems (Mosley, 2008, 2011). Both in Greece and
Spain there were indications of weak capacity in the PES. The expenditure
on PES was under the EU average in both countries, although Spain
spent slightly more (0.144 per cent of GDP) on labour market services
than Greece (0.012 per cent of GDP; European Commission and ICON
Institute, 2016; Eurostat, 2016). Nevertheless, annual average caseload
was very high in Spain at 2683 in 2014, while we may regard the annual
average caseload of 488 in Greece as ‘medium’ but still too high to provide
eective counselling. With coverage rates of unemployment benets under
15 per cent in Greece and Spain, the incentives to register were very limited
(Matsaganis et al., 2013).
These indicators suggest that even before the YG was launched,
Germany not only followed an enabling labour market policy approach,
but also combined a rather well-established PES and a comparatively high
rate of registration with a vocational education and training system. By
contrast, young Spaniards and Greeks were more likely to be unsupported
in their transition from school to work. School-based vocational train-
ing systems were established in combination with a practiced work-rst
approach and a rather overloaded PES that did not register all unem-
ployed young people.
Before addressing the procedural and substantive changes, we briey out-
line selected instruments of European vertical coordination, namely fund-
ing and the preparation of YG implementation plans. In 2013 the external
funding supplied by the EU within the framework of the newly created
YEI – the 6.4 billion euros provided initially in 2014−15 − were extended
by another 2.4 billion euros for the period 2017−20 to support the member
states actively in implementing the YG (Council of the European Union
and EMCO, 2016). This money is available to regions that had a youth
unemployment rate above 25 per cent in 2013. Thus, the amount of funding
provided relates to the level of problem pressure in the dierent member
states. Spain therefore received 881.44 million and Greece 160.24 million
euros, while Germany did not receive any money from the YEI (European
Commission, 2014a). EU nancial support makes up a substantial share
of total spending on youth employment policies in the Southern European
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 192 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 193
countries. Furthermore, the EU recommended using money from the ESF
for the YG implementation (see Bussi et al., Chapter 10 this volume). The
YEI has been part of the ESF framework and control structure and thus
required co-nancing from the member states (Council of the European
Union, 2013). Accordingly, they developed ‘operational programmes’ that
had to be approved by the Commission. Later the member states had to
submit implementation reports (European Commission, 2014b; Interview
EC; Interview UEAPME).
Particularly the principle of reimbursement, which has meant that
member states had to nance projects in advance, caused diculties to
countries with decit targets and led to delays (European Commission,
2015a). In particular, Spain had problems with the principle of reimburse-
ment, especially as it was also under EU pressure to cut the public decit
(Ayllón and Ferreira-Batista, 2016). Many countries claimed that they did
not have the national budget to release advance funding for YEI measures
(European Commission, 2015a). In 2015, in reaction to the delays and
problems indicated, the Commission increased the ‘pre-nancing’ from
part of the EU to member states by around one billion euros (European
Commission, 2016b). Subsequently, the YEI’s nancial resources allo-
cated to selected projects rose between 2015 and 2017 from 36 per cent to
68 per cent. Nevertheless, about one third of the total budget has not yet
been allocated (European Commission, 2017b).
In Greece, delays in the withdrawal of funding were connected to the
role of the ‘YG National Coordinator’ (Ministry of Labour): ‘Responsible
for the distribution of resources is the “National Coordinator” and we do
not know why they did not proceed so that funding could be absorbed.
The other stakeholders had few and poor proposals, but the “National
Coordinator” should put some pressure on them’ (interviewee in the
Greek PES, cf. Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016: 13).
Other reasons for late or no withdrawal might be that the complexity
of the application process created uncertainty amongst national decision
makers as to whether they would receive reimbursement of the costs of
the presented projects. This might have led to so-called ‘gold-plating’,
meaning that member states and public administrations might refuse good
projects or initiatives if they were not sure whether the projects would meet
the EU criteria (Interview UEAPME).
The YG implementation plans have represented country-specic goal-
setting supported at EU level. The plans have described the measures
and reforms that the countries intended to implement in order to comply
with the YG, including the time frame as well as the foreseen funding
and responsibilities. As mentioned before, the European Semester has
monitored the implementation of the YG. The YG National Coordinator
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 193 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
194 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
has been the main point of contact to communicate with the European
Commission and has led the establishment and management of the YG
(European Commission, 2017a). The preparation of the YG implementa-
tion plans has been a crucial element in designing and realizing member
states’ involvement of non-state actors as well as horizontal coordination
across policy elds. Hence, the YG implementation plans might have
led to changes with respect to established procedures and systems of
In the countries under study, the ministries of labour acted as National
Coordinators to manage and coordinate the design and implementation
of the YG, while each respective PES has been the central operative
institution. The involvement of dierent state and non-state actors such
as relevant ministries, social partners and other stakeholders has been
important for implementing the partnership approach and launching
structural reforms. Whereas Greece and Spain created new formal or
informal institutions, Germany used previously existing bodies.
For the YG design and implementation, Germany made use of several
already established forms of cooperation between schools and vocational
guidance services, PES and industry organizations (YGIP-Germany,
2014: 21–6). When designing the German YG implementation plan, the
Ministry of Labour invited several ministries, social partners, welfare
associations, PES and representatives of municipalities to discuss and
provide written feedback to a draft version. The participation of social
partners in single policies in Germany has varied but it has been intensive
in vocational training (Assmann et al., 2016; YGIP-Germany, 2014).
In line with established procedures, the role of non-state actors in the
consultation process to design and implement the YG has been of a quite
participative character. Nevertheless, the national trade union confedera-
tion criticized the denial of a proposed apprenticeship guarantee and also
the timing of the hearing for giving them little opportunity to prepare
remarks (Bussi, 2014: 33).
Furthermore, already existing horizontal coordination forms across
policy elds have been further strengthened and rened under the YG
scheme. An important innovative reform has been the establishment of
one-stop youth career agencies to combine PES, educational measures,
social youth services and other relevant institutions to support school-to-
work transitions at local level (Assmann et al., 2016: 6, 24–33). The YG,
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 194 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 195
however, has not been the trigger, rather has had an overall supportive
impact in these developments as the respective reforms were begun in
The centralized PES’s governance structure in Germany may have
been advantageous for implementing the YG. However, some of the
actors involved have criticized centralization because sometimes the local
employment agencies had to wait for the consent of the national PES,
which has hindered the rapid implementation of some measures at local
Although in Spain the Labour Ministry has been the formal point
of contact for the Commission, it does not have the centralized power
to coordinate the YG. Due to decentralized coordination of the YG
implementation, we nd strong regional dierences in the YG design and
implementation in combination with a poorly equipped PES. Spain did
not set up formal coordination committees for implementing the YG,
rather has made use of informal multi-stakeholder bodies, including non-
state and state actors, ministries, the Youth Council, youth organizations,
autonomous communities, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and
Provinces, and the PES (European Commission, 2016a: 24; YGIP-Spain,
2013: 14–16). When further sources are taken into account (Ayllón
and Ferreira-Batista, 2016; BusinessEurope, 2014, 2015, 2016; Bussi,
2014), there seems to be a gap between what is described in the Spanish
ocial documents and statements from regional actors and trade union
and employer representatives: On the one hand, the Spanish ‘YG
implementation plan’ indicates that it has received various contributions
from interested parties and that it has passed a prior consultation before
approval. The reason could be that in some autonomous communities
several YG pilot projects were conducted prior to 2013 where stakehold-
ers had been consulted (Ayllón and Ferreira-Batista, 2016). On the
other hand, Spanish trade unions, employers and autonomous public
employment services have noted that participation in the YG at national
level has been poor, notwithstanding their requests for information and
involvement. Consultation meetings gave information about the nalized
YG implementation plan but did not allow for feedback (Ayllón and
Ferreira-Batista, 2016; Bussi, 2014). Hence, the Spanish social partners
expressed very strong dissatisfaction with the social dialogue in the YG
process (BusinessEurope, 2014, 2015, 2016). Thus, the informative char-
acter seemed to dominate when it came to the involvement of non-state
Moreover, it appears that decentralization in Spain has not only led to
regional dierences but has also counteracted the coordination of dier-
ent administrations. The competition of power between the autonomous
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 195 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
196 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
communities and the national government even led to parallel registra-
tion systems for the YG implementation, creating complex bureaucratic
procedures. Young Spaniards who had already registered as unemployed
at the regular PES system additionally had to register in a particular
system for the YG. Furthermore, the inscription modalities were criticized
as complicated and not target-group oriented since it was the young
people who needed to get actively involved. The general weakness of the
governance structure of the PES has created overall obstacles to ecient
implementation and coordination of youth employment policies as well
as to evaluation and monitoring (Ayllón and Ferreira-Batista, 2016: 11).
In Greece informants did not report on major regional dierences.
However, the EU Employment Committee has addressed the ineciency
of its PES in the implementation of the YG in the Country Specic
Recommendations (Council of the European Union, 2013; Council of the
European Union and EMCO, 2016). In contrast to the other two countries,
the Greek Ministry of Labour as National Coordinator has concentrated
on the establishment of a formal institution with a particular focus on
the YG. The secretaries of relevant ministries set up a ‘Coordination
Committee for the implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative,
and in particular of the YG programme’. However, deciencies in the
social dialogue, amongst other problems, resulted in a revision of the YG
implementation plan (Bussi, 2014: 40; Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016: 5).
The revised version of the plan demanded non-state actors’ involvement
and stated that the Committee was to be comprised of social partners,
civil society representatives and youth employment experts, ignoring the
optional character of their participation. Additionally, the government
established a ‘Working Group on implementing the Youth Employment
Initiative and YG’ that also included representatives from relevant
ministries as well as the Association of the Regions and the Central Union
of Municipalities of Greece. However, the involved stakeholders assessed
the participation in these coordination bodies in contrasting ways. First,
since the government did not consult certain stakeholders in the process
of designing the YG implementation plan, we may see the inclusion of
non-state actors as of a mainly informative nature. Nevertheless, for the
Greek Ministry of Labour, horizontal coordination was quite a challenge,
since it was the rst time that they had to work eectively together on a
specic basis (Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016: 9). Thus, the setting up
of coordination bodies for the YG encouraged Greece to address youth
employment policy from a more holistic perspective by reinforcing hori-
zontal coordination across policy elds.
In summary, we can identify several procedural changes in horizontal
coordination in all three member states, although in Germany the YG was
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 196 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 197
not a trigger for these changes. We cannot identify a clear change in the
involvement of non-state actors in Germany since this country used pre-
existing bodies. It seems that external support via the YEI, the preparation
of the YG implementation plans and external pressure due to monitoring
processes have together triggered procedural changes in Greece and
Spain. However, it is not clear whether the procedural changes will have a
sustainable character in these countries since the creation of coordination
bodies related only to the YG and the YEI.
The YG triggered changes in the discourse and promoted a stronger
focus on youth unemployment at national level and, occasionally, in
local administrations in Germany, Spain and Greece. Moreover, the term
‘young NEETs’ has received more attention from policymakers since the
implementation of the YG in the three countries (Assmann et al., 2016;
Ayllón and Ferreira-Batista, 2016; Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016).
Overall, this has contributed to putting topics related to youth employ-
ment policies at the top of the political agenda and therefore to substantive
change in agenda-setting.
However, in Germany, we see no substantive change concerning the
policy approach to youth employment, rather a path-dependent implemen-
tation of the YG according to the already dominating enabling approach
for the young. The majority of educational and labour market measures
in the YG remained preventive and aimed at pupils, jobseekers or training
seekers, or young unemployed with a focus on the attainment of school
or certied vocational training qualications. Similarly, Spain and Greece
developed the YG through a path-dependent implementation, albeit
by pursuing a work-rst approach. For instance, labour market policy
measures have given nancial incentives to companies to hire adolescents
in times of uncertainty. The Greek YG has included several voucher pro-
grammes combining short training periods with work experience. Spanish
policymakers considered an incentive for hiring often in combination with
the provision of atypical contracts (Ayllón and Ferreira-Batista, 2016: 21;
Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016: 9, 18).
Beyond path dependency and according to our hypothesis, we were able
to identify steps towards substantive programmatic change concerning
school-to-work transition systems in both countries. The Greek govern-
ment sought to make the vocational education and training system more
attractive. A new legal framework for apprenticeships (Law 4186/2013)
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 197 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
198 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
was created in 2013 (Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016: 6; YGIP-Greece,
2014: 24–5). This framework seeks to connect vocational education
and training more strongly to the economy and the labour market.
Another innovation in line with these objectives was to introduce a dual
system by establishing the ‘apprenticeship class’ (YGIP-Greece, 2014: 25).
Vocational training schools oered a fourth optional year of an appren-
ticeship programme to provide workplace experience that led to a higher
qualication for upper-secondary vocational graduates. Furthermore,
to strengthen the link between labour demand and supply, vocational
training schools set up career oces (Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016:
6–8; YGIP-Greece, 2014: 25). However, according to national reports,
the recession was a limiting factor. Many Greek companies lacked the
necessary structures and nancial resources for apprenticeship training
(Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016: 12, 28).
Furthermore, institutional reforms in Greece restructured the PES
(OAED) according to the ‘Business Model Reengineering Plan’, high-
lighted as a crucial factor for delivering the YG. The reform aimed at
internal changes such as a better alignment between organizational units,
but more importantly concerned the way in which the PES approached
unemployed people. The objective was to treat them in a more individual-
ized way and to set up Individual Action Plans (IAP; YGIP-Greece, 2014:
17–20; Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016: 4–8). The reform also included
the establishment of an online portal and a call centre for employers and
jobseekers. However, these reforms had already started before the imple-
mentation of the YG, promoted by international institutions as part of
scal discipline policies under the Memoranda of Understanding between
Greece and its creditors (Kominou and Parsanoglou, 2016: 23).
In Spain a foundation was set up in 2012 to ‘establish the basis for the
progressive implementation of a dual training system’ (Royal Decree
1529/2012). The aim was to facilitate labour market integration for young
people by matching vocational skills with labour market needs (Ayllón
and Ferreira-Batista, 2016: 6, 22; YGIP-Spain, 2013: 27–8). The reform
oered several modalities of vocational education and training. These
oers included the option to provide training combined with employment
exclusively within an educational institution or within an enterprise. An
alternative was to oer young people training by a training centre in
combination with work-based training at an accredited company (ICF
GHK, 2012: 6). Again, since these developments started before 2013 we
cannot see the YG as the trigger. Overall, nancial resources within the
YG may have supported the increase in the number of participants from
4292 in 2012/13 to 15304 in 2015/16. Within that time also the numbers of
companies oering work-based learning rose from 513 to 5665 (European
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 198 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 199
Commission, 2016a: 59). Nonetheless, at the time of writing it was too
early to estimate the outcome of a proper vocational education and train-
ing system.
If we consider all the changes observed in Germany, we see that they
were primarily related to procedural changes and we can characterize
them as ‘system renement’. By contrast, we regard substantive changes in
the Southern countries as cases of ‘system-building’ (see Table 9.3). These
may represent initial steps of transition towards a dierent institutional
setting and policy approach.
Overall, the ndings presented support our expectation that the imple-
mentation of the YG would be path dependent, in the sense of largely
reproducing and strengthening a pre-existing approach to domestic youth
unemployment policies. German YG measures built on a previous ena-
bling orientation, whereas Spain and Greece tended to broaden the scope
of an already dominating work-rst approach to labour market policy
measures for young people. If we adopt a broader perspective including
relevant institutions like the PES as well as the system for vocational
education and training, we can observe dierent forms of procedural
and substantive changes. Although the YG Recommendation did not
necessarily trigger these changes, mechanisms of vertical and horizontal
coordination have supported them. Furthermore, there are reasons to
assess the changes in the Southern European countries as bigger and more
consequential than the changes in Germany. A more noticeable institu-
tional mist with respect to settings for providing smooth school-to-work
transitions in Southern Europe than in Germany may have contributed
to this dierence. Moreover, both the external pressure and the support
from the EU have been stronger in the Southern European countries than
in Germany.
However, according to stakeholders in all countries, both bureaucratic
rules to claim money and the principles of reimbursement created problems
overall in accessing EU funds, especially for member countries with decit
targets. This emerged as an area where there was scope for improving
vertical coordination at EU level. Although the EU has already responded
to these problems, for example with so-called ‘pre-nancing’, further
improvements seem to be necessary to ensure support for the member
states and the organizations implementing ESF and YEI programmes
(also see Bussi et al., Chapter 10 this volume).
Within this context one may also ask whether other forms of external
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 199 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Table 9.3 Youth Guarantee implementation and impact
Policy Inuences in a Multi-level Governance System Germany Spain Greece
Institutional mist − smooth school to work transition Low High High
Youth Guarantee
EU funding (external support) Not fully eligible
Youth Guarantee implementation
plan (external support/pressure)
Minor problems due
to hierarchical PES
structure for local
Problems due to lack of
vertical coordination in
PES and approach of
National Coordinator
Problems, revision
and delays related
to ineciency of
PES and approach
of National
Forms of changes Procedural Reinforced horizontal
Support of one-stop
shops within PES
Creation of informal
Creation of formal
Involvement of non-
state actors
Participative Informative Informative
Substantive Agenda-setting Focus on youth
unemployment and
Focus on youth
unemployment and
Focus on youth
unemployment and
Programmatic Support of structural
reforms of vocational
education and training
Support of structural
reforms of vocational
education and
and PES
Overall characteristic of change System renement System-building System-building
Source: Author’s interpretation.
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 200 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 201
pressure not dealt with in the present analysis (such as requirements for-
mulated by the Troika as part of crisis management) might have hampered
substantial reforms in the respective countries. For instance, austerity
policies may have prevented a necessary increase in the capacity of PES
that might have enabled improvement of the sta−client ratio and an
increase in the social protection to which young people would have access.
Probably the most positive inuence of the YG in all three countries has
been a greater awareness of the negative consequences of youth unemploy-
ment and job insecurity. At best the YG has encouraged member states to
address youth employment policy from a holistic perspective. Improved
horizontal coordination between dierent ministries and administrations,
as well as the participative involvement of social partners and other
stakeholders, are likely to be crucial for establishing new institutional
settings that can provide smooth transitions from school to work. Finally,
continuity of the nancial commitment to and political interest in the
support of youth employment policies through the Commission and other
European actors are essential for member states’ ability to combat youth
unemployment in eective ways.
Assmann M-L, Steinberg L and Dingeldey I (2016) Strategies to improve labour
market integration of young people: Comparing policy coordination in nine European
countries. National Report Germany for NEGOTIATE Working Paper no. 8.2.les/2015/03/D-8.2_YG-implementation-Germany.
pdf (accessed 22 April 2018).
Autorengruppe Bildungsberichterstattung (2014) Bildung in Deutschland 2014: Ein
indikatorengestützter Bericht mit einer Analyse zur Bildung von Menschen mit
Behinderungen. Bielefeld: Bertelsmann.
Ayllón S and Ferreira-Batista N (2016) Institutional determinants of early job
insecurity in nine European countries. National Report Spain for NEGOTIATE
Working Paper no. 3.4.les/2015/03/WP-3.4_Spain_
National-report.pdf (accessed 2 June 2018).
Bonoli G (2010) The political economy of active labor-market policy. Politics &
Society 38(4): 435–57.
Börzel TA and Risse T (2006) Europeanization: The domestic impact of European
Union politics. In: Jørgensen K, Pollack M and Rosamond B (eds) Handbook of
European Union Politics. London: Sage, pp. 483–504.
BusinessEurope, CEEP, ETUC and UEAPME (2014) Framework of Actions on
Youth Employment: First Follow-up Report.
4%20-%20Final.pdf (accessed 19 June 2017).
BusinessEurope, CEEP, ETUC and UEAPME (2015) Framework of Actions on
Youth Employment: Second Follow-up Report.
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 201 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
202 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
%202015%20-%20Final.pdf (accessed 19 June 2017).
BusinessEurope, CEEP, ETUC and UEAPME (2016) Framework of Actions on
Youth Employment: Third Follow-up Report.
aw_uploads/les/3rd%20follow%20up%20report%20FoA%20Youth%20Sept %
202016%20-%20Final.pdf (accessed 19 June 2017).
Bussi M (2014) The Youth Guarantee in Europe. ETUC/ETUI Report. Brussels:
European Trade Union Confederation.
Cabasés Piqué MÀ, Pardell Veà A and Strecker T (2015) The EU youth guarantee:
A critical analysis of its implementation in Spain. Journal of Youth Studies 19(5):
Costamagna F (2013) The European semester in action: Strengthening economic
policy coordination while weakening the social dimension? LPF Working Paper
no. 5. Turin: Centro Einaudi.
Council of the European Union (2013) Council Recommendation of 22 April 2013
on Establishing a Youth Guarantee: 2013/ C 120/ 01. Brussels: Ocial Journal of
the European Union.
Council of the European Union and EMCO (2016) 2016 EMCO Multilateral
Surveillance Conclusions: Addendum to the EMCO Horizontal Opinion on the 2016
CSRs. Brussels: Council of the European Union. http://data.consilium.europa.
eu/doc/document/ST-9684-2016-ADD-1/en/pdf (accessed 8 May 2018).
Cowles MG, Caporaso JA and Risse T (2001) Transforming Europe: Europeanization
and Domestic Change. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
De la Porte C and Heins E (2015) A new era of European integration? Governance
of labour market and social policy since the sovereign debt crisis. Comparative
European Politics 13(1): 8–28.
Dhéret C and Roden J (2016) Towards a Europeanisation of youth employment
policies? A comparative analysis of regional youth guarantee policy designs. EPC
Issue Paper no. 81. Brussels: European Policy Centre.
Dingeldey I (2009) Activating labour market policies and the restructuring of
‘welfare’ and ‘state’. A comparative view on changing forms of governance. ZeS
Working Paper no.1. Bremen: Zentrum für Sozialpolitik.
Dingeldey I (2011a) Der aktivierende Wohlfahrtsstaat. Governance der
Arbeitsmarktpolitik in Dänemark, Großbritannien und Deutschland [The activating
welfare state. Governance of labour market policy in Denmark, Great Britain
and Germany]. Frankfurt/Main: Campus.
Dingeldey I (2011b) Fragmented governance continued: The German case. In:Van
Berkel R, De Graaf W and Sirovátka T (eds) The Governance of ActiveWelfare
States in Europe. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 62–84.
Dingeldey I, Assmann ML and Steinberg L (2017) Strategies to improve labour
market integration of young people: Comparing policy coordination in nine European
countries. NEGOTIATE Working Paper no. 8.2.
gration-of-young-people.pdf (accessed 22 April 2018).
Eichhorst W, Wozny F and Cox M (2015) Policy performance and evaluation:
Germany. STYLE Working Paper no. 3.3. Brighton, UK: CROME, University
of Brighton.
European Commission (2014a) Memo: EU measures to tackle youth unemploy-
ment. (accessed 18
September 2017).
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 202 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 203
European Commission (2014b) Youth Employment Initiative and the European
Social Fund. European Social Fund thematic paper. Luxembourg: Publications
Oce of the European Union.
European Commission (2015a) Accelerated pre-nancing for the Youth Employment
Initiative: Questions and answers: European Commission fact sheet. http://europa.
eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-5020_en.htm (accessed 29 September 2017).
European Commission (2015b) Frequently asked questions about the Youth Guarantee:
Q&A. (accessed 16
August 2017).
European Commission (2016a) Commission Sta Working Document: The
Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment Initiative three years on. Part 1/2:
Communication. Brussels: SWD(2016) 323 nal.
European Commission (2016b) The Youth Guarantee and Youth Employment
Initiative three years on: Communication. Brussels: COM(2016) 646 nal.
European Commission (2017a) The Youth Guarantee country by country. http:// (accessed 22 August 2017).
European Commission (2017b) Youth Employment Initiative: European Structural &
Investment Funds: Data. (accessed
29 September 2017).
European Commission (2017c) Youth Employment Initiative (YEI). http://ec.europa.
eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1176 (accessed 20 November 2017).
European Commission and ICON Institute (2016) Assessment Report on PES
Capacity. Luxembourg: Publications Oce of the European Union.
Eurostat (2016) Public expenditure on labour market policies, by type of action (source:
DG EMPL) % of GDP.
=1&language=en&pcode=tps00076&plugin=1 (accessed 11 August 2017).
Falkner G, Treib O, Hartlapp M and Leiber S (2005) Complying with Europe. EU
Harmonisation and Soft Law in the Member States. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge
University Press.
Gangl M (2001) European perspectives on labour market entry. A dichotomy of
occupationalized vs. non-occupationalized systems? European Societies 3(4):
Giddens A (1998) Equality and the social investment state. In: Hargreaves I and
Christie I (eds) Tomorrow’s Politics. The Third Way and Beyond. London, UK:
Demos, pp. 25–40.
Gilbert N and Van Voorhis RA (eds) (2001) Activating the Unemployed: A Comparative
Appraisal of Work-Oriented Policies. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.
Heidenreich M (2009) The open method of coordination. A pathway to the gradual
transformation of national employment and welfare regimes? In: Heidenreich M
and Zeitlin J (eds) Changing European Employment and Welfare Regimes. The
Inuence of the Open Method of Coordination on National Reforms. Abingdon,
UK: Routledge, pp. 10−36.
Heidenreich M and Zeitlin J (2009) Changing European Employment and Welfare
Regimes. The Inuence of the Open Method of Coordination on National Reforms.
Abingdon, UK: Routledge.
ICF GHK (2012) Developing ‘dual vocational training’ to support the labour market
insertion of young people: Can Spain catch up with Germany? Mutual learning
programme case study.
073&eventsId=951&furtherEvents=yes (accessed 16 January 2017).
Kominou K and Parsanoglou D (2016) Strategies to improve labour market
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 203 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
204 Youth unemployment and job insecurity in Europe
integration of young people: Comparing policy coordination in nine European
countries. National Report Greece for NEGOTIATE Working Paper no. 8.2.
https : / / negotiate - research . eu / les / 2015 / 03 / D8 . 2 _ Country _ report _ Greece . pdf
(accessed 8 May 2018).
Kyvelou SS and Marava N (2017) From centralism to decentralization and back to
recentralization due to the economic crisis: Findings and lessons learnt from the
Greek experience. In: Ruano JM and Proroiu M (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of
Decentralisation in Europe. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 297–326.
Madsen PK, Molina O, Møller J and Lozano M (2013) Labour market transitions
of young workers in Nordic and southern European countries: The role of
exicurity. Transfer 19(3): 325–43.
Marks G and Hooghe L (2004) Contrasting visions of multi-level governance.
In: Bache I and Flinders M (eds) Multi-level Governance. Oxford, UK: Oxford
University Press, pp. 15–30.
Matsaganis M, Özdemir E and Ward T (2013) The Coverage Rate of Social
Benets. Social Situation Observatory Research Note no. 9. Brussels: European
Commission. (accessed
29 January 2018).
Morel N, Palier B and Palme J (2012) Towards a Social Investment State? Bristol,
UK: Policy Press.
Mosley H (2008) Decentralisation and accountability in labour market policy.
Expert paper for the conference ‘Decentralisation and Coordination: The Twin
Challenges of Labour Market Policy’.
(accessed 29 January 2018).
Mosley H (2011) Decentralisation of Public Employment Services. Analytical
Paper for the European Commission Mutual Learning Programme for Public
Employment Services.
(accessed 29 January 2018).
OAED (2013) PES approaches to low-skilled adults and young people: Work rst
or train rst? Greece. PES Paper Peer Review for the European Commission
Mutual Learning Programme for Public Employment Services.
social/BlobServlet?docId=10462&langId=en (accessed 17 April 2017).
OECD (1989) Employment Outlook. Paris: OECD.
OECD (2014) Education at a Glance 2014: OECD Indicators. Paris: OECD.
Pierson P (1995) Fragmented welfare states: Federal institutions and the devel-
opment of social policy. Governance: An International Journal of Policy,
Administration, and Institutions 8(4): 449–78.
Pierson P (2000) Increasing returns, path dependence, and the study of politics.
American Political Science Review 94(2): 251–67.
ReferNet Greece (2009) Greece, VET in Europe: Country Report. www.cedefop.les/2009_cr_gr.pdf (accessed 7 February 2017).
ReferNet Spain (2012) Spain, VET in Europe: Country Report. www.cedefop.les/2012_cr_es.pdf (accessed 17 April 2017).
Solga H, Protsch P, Ebner C and Brzinsky-Fay C (2014) The German vocational
education and training system: Its institutional conguration, strengths, and chal-
lenges. WZB Discussion Paper no. 502. Berlin: Social Science Research Centre.
Streeck W and Thelen K (eds) (2005) Beyond Continuity. Institutional Change in
Advanced Political Economies. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Thelen K (1999) Historical institutionalism in comparative politics. Annual Review
of Political Science 2(1): 369–404.
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 204 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
Horizontal and vertical coordination of the European Youth Guarantee 205
Weishaupt T (2014) The social OMCs at work: Identifying and explaining varia-
tions in national use and inuence. In: Barcevičius E, Weishaupt T and Zeitlin
J (eds) Assessing the Open Method of Coordination. Institutional Design and
National Inuence of EU Social Policy Coordination. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave
Macmillan, pp. 203–33.
YGIP-Germany (2014) National implementation plan to establish the EU youth
guarantee in Germany.
(ac cessed 1 February 2016).
YGIP-Greece (2014) Greek Youth Guarantee implementation plan.
uploads/docs/8338.pdf (accessed 6 July 2017).
YGIP-Spain (2013) Spanish national Youth Guarantee implementation plan. www.cheros/garantiajuvenil/documentos/plannacionalgarantiajuvenil
anexo_en.pdf (accessed 6 July 2017).
Zeitlin J, Barcevičius E and Weishaupt T (2014) Institutional design and national
inuence of EU social policy coordination: Advancing a contradictory debate.
In: Barcevičius E, Weishaupt T and Zeitlin J (eds) Assessing the Open Method
of Coordination. Institutional Design and National Inuence of EU Social Policy
Coordination. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1–16.
Cited Interviews with EU-level Policy Experts
Interview EC (12 June 2017): Interview with a representative of the European
Interview UEAPME (13 June 2017): Interview with a representative of the
European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.
HVINDEN & HYGGEN_9781788118880_t.indd 205 17/01/2019 09:31
Irene Dingeldey, Lisa Steinberg and Marie-Luise Assmann - 9781788118897
Downloaded from Elgar Online at 01/22/2020 07:03:14PM
via free access
... We reflect that certain aspects of the enabling approach are present in Youth Guarantee (YG) strategy. The goal of YG was to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 would receive a high-quality, concrete offer of employment or training within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed (Dingeldey et al. 2019). ...
... People, e.g., non-take-up social benefits because they expect they are not eligible, because of a feeling of honour and need to avoid potential feelings of embarrassment and because they do not have internalized gloomy images of the functioning of social assistance (Hora 2008b). Unemployment benefits may (or may not) also serve as a motivation factor for young people to register at Employment office (Dingeldey et al. 2015(Dingeldey et al. , 2019. There are various other motivation factors including better chance to get social benefits, payment of health insurance, and free health care for social assistance claimants (Hora 2008b, Trilfajová et al. 2015. ...
... On some occasions, young people feel they are neglected/left to help themselves and that the situation in their neighbourhoods has worsened (Hussain et al. 2016). Dingeldey et al. (2019) points to three aspects relevant for efficient implementation of policies: the administrative capacity of PES (e.g. workers' capacity and overload, financial problems, administrative barriers, implementation deficits), incentives provided for young people to register and the governance structure of PES (unification or fragmentation within the system). ...
Full-text available
In the last decades, we have witnessed changes in society that can be in some respects individually both beneficial and demanding for young people. The situation of young people seems dependent on their initial position and economic situation during their crucial transition from school to work. Part of young people is unable to tackle their situation, and they find themselves in an insecure position. I want to know what happens to young people and how they reflect these processes in their life stories – how young people themselves perceive their situation. The book's goal is to get insight into the critical moments and places in the life stories of young people so that an understanding of how (if at all) their behaviour in interactions with structural conditions allowed them to live a preferred kind of life. Following stories by more than 70 young people is the way to reach this goal. I address the following questions reading these stories: x What strategies young people used to tackle their situation? x What key aspects were in the concrete cases relevant for their situation? x How key institutions (including education, employment protection, unemployment protection, and active labour market policy) play a role in the life situation of young people? The presented mostly qualitative study is limited to one single country (the Czech Republic). The book is rooted in the work done during my participation on EU projects CYTISPYCE (7th framework) and NEGOTIATE (Horizon 2020). In these projects, the team members investigated the life situation of young people who lived in deprived neighbourhoods or who perceived their lives to be insecure. To follow the aforementioned goal and questions I use an approach inspired by cultural studies (Saukko 2003, 2005) in combination with the narrative approach and structural reflection of key aspects.
... Self-improvement is very often against the odds: we are far from believing that people shape their own destinies untrammelled by their environment. To take a very specific case, Europe's Youth Guarantee both empowers and constrains its beneficiaries (Dingeldey et al., 2019;Milana et al., 2020). Social theorists have long argued, and social research has shown, that structures and institutions shape our lives; they shape how we think of ourselves, what we hope for and what we think realistic and expect. ...
Full-text available
This chapter outlines the development of lifelong learning policy for adults since the early 1990s in the political, economic and social context of the European Union’s development. It explains the origins, approach, methods and organisation of the research project (Encouraging Lifelong Learning for an Inclusive and Vibrant Europe: ‘Enliven’) on which the book’s chapters are based. It introduces the project’s key theoretical approaches (bounded agency, policy trails). It outlines why developing an Intelligent Decision Support System (IDSS) formed part of the research, what this involved (including issues arising when social and computer scientists collaborate) and what researchers learnt from its development about the potential role of Artificial Intelligence in the policy process. The chapter also sets out the structure of the book.
... On the one hand, it tries to provide general solutions for all of Europe despite the fact that the NEET situation is different in each country, as are the ideas of youth, work, and even the label of being a NEET. This may imply that the policy implementation depends on the national legislation and the usual way to proceed regarding the implementation of this kind of policy [21]. Nonetheless, research such as that done by Bacher et al. showed that the differences between regions regarding their situation and their economic market are considerably relevant [22]. ...
Full-text available
Aiming to tackle the high levels of youth unemployment and rates of Not Employed, in Education, or Training (NEET), the European Union launched the flagship policy Youth Guarantee in 2013. In this article we evaluate this policy in order to reveal the lessons it can teach us and possible ways for its improvement to achieve a sustainable active labor market policy. We use the data collected through the Indicator Framework for Monitoring the Youth Guarantee to analyze the policy impact, limited to some of the countries with the highest NEET rates: those of the Mediterranean European Economic Area (Cyprus, Greece, Italy, and Spain). We used the data to create regression models for the evaluation of policy measures, spread, and achievements. In our findings we reveal the importance of time in the policy implementation, the differences and commonalities between the countries, and hidden problems in the data collection that lead to biases and misleading results. We conclude that it is too soon to judge the usefulness of the policy and recommend an improvement in the data collection process.
... In the Southern European countries, the PES were weak actors already before the economic downturn, most of all because they are structurally underfinanced and -developed. They play only a minor role coping with youth unemployment as the possibilities to receive unemployment benefits for young people are very limited in these countries (Dingeldey et al. 2019). Young people do not seem to be attracted enough by the offers and services of the PES in most of the European countries. ...
In the wake of the Great Recession, youth labour market integration has become a central issue in both national as well as EU policy, e.g. in connection with the European Youth Guarantee. In this context, public employment services (PES) are considered central actors in promoting youth labour market integration. However, since international comparative analyses are scarce and the role of institutions and policies is thus rarely explicated, it is still an open empirical question whether and in which context PES can fulfil such a key role. Therefore, we analyse two questions based on the EU-LFS 2016 ad-hoc module: (i) How relevant is PES support to young people with different educational levels in finding a job? (ii) How do differences in the educational system and in labour market policies shape the relevance of PES support across Europe? This study illustrates that in countries with highly stratified, standardised and vocational-specific educational systems the relevance of PES is comparatively high in particular for the low-qualified. Thus, those countries have good reasons to strengthen PES to support the most disadvantaged and to combat labour market inequalities.
Full-text available
This working paper focuses on the implementation of the European Youth Guarantee in Germany. It describes shortly the discourse and political process concerning the Youth Guarantee as well as the implementation in general in Germany. Then the YG implementation in Germany is illustrated based on three programs: the Youth Career Agency, Encouraging Youth in the Neighborhood- JUSTiQ and Career Entry Support by Mentoring. Finally we typologize the YG implementation strategy in Germany and give policy recommendations.
Full-text available
Youth unemployment and job insecurity have become an increasing concern of national governments and the European Union (EU) during the last decade. In 2013, the European Council launched the Recommendation of the Youth Guarantee (YG) and member states made a commitment to ensure that young people below 25 years “receive a good quality offer of employment, continued education, apprenticeship or traineeship within a period of four months of becoming unemployed or leaving formal education” (European Council 2013). Not only is the clear objective innovative but the YG also provides financial resources through the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative. Countries implementing the YG have different starting positions regarding the active labour market policy (ALMP) approach, the spending for ALMP, unemployment protection as well as vocational education and training (VET) systems. Against that background the paper aims to analyse the strategies of national governments to implement the YG. Our purpose is, to assess what kind of impact the YG had on national policies and if changes go along with ‘new’ forms of policy coordination. Switzerland and Norway, two non-EU-members, serve as a reference group as these two countries carried out similar approaches even before the idea of the European YG. The paper draws on country reports worked out within the NEGOTIATE project, based on primary and secondary sources as well as 4-6 expert interviews in each country. The countries involved are Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Germany, Poland, Spain and UK, plus Norway and Switzerland. Using a neo-institutionalist policy approach, different youth employment policy regimes in the respective nine countries are typologised as a baseline for reform. A relevant indicator is the general youth activating policy approach defined as ‘enabling’ when education and training is fostered or ‘work-first’ in case immediate labour market integration is enhanced. Additionally, we consider the transition-towork institutions in each country. All in all, we discovered three regime types: an enabling/systematic SWT-regime in Germany, Switzerland and Norway, a work-first/guided SWT-regime in UK, Czech Republic and Poland and a work-first/solitary SWT-regime in Spain, Greece and Bulgaria. Beyond the fact that all EU countries – except for UK – acknowledge the YG and take the formulated demands as inspiring to domestic policy reforms, we identify a path dependent YG implementation strategy in line with the different regimes. However, in all countries changes to improve coordination can be identified. These include reforms in VET policy, public employment services and closer collaboration with social partners or third sector organisations concerning outreaching measures. The improvement of coordination, however, addresses rather different aspects in different countries. All in all, we characterise these changes as ‘system building’ as in the long run such incremental change may lead to the establishment of different VET systems. Only in Germany changes are considered as ‘system refinement’, as only at one point some major reforms are stated. Against that background, we even may confirm the misfit-hypothesis as changes with respect to these institutions seem to be stronger in the work-first/solitary SWT-regime than in the work-first/guided SWT-regimes or even in the enabling/systematic SWT regime. The YG has a supportive impact on changes in the countries with enabling SWT-regimes (and the UK), while it was a trigger for new policy elements in the work-first/guided SWT-regimes and even a trigger for new system elements in countries with work-first/solitary SWT-regimes. Hence, the implementation of the YG is dominated by the institutional context.
Technical Report
Full-text available
The report was commissioned by the European Trade Union Confederation. It looks at the first national responses to the European Youth Guarantee and the involvement of trade union in the implementation process.
Full-text available
What does EU law truly mean for the member states? This book presents the first encompassing and in-depth empirical study of the effects of 'voluntaristic' and (partly) 'soft' EU policies in all 15 member states. it examines 90 case studies across a range of EU Directives and clarifies contemporary issues in political science, integration theory, and social policy. The study concludes that major implementation failures prevail and that, to date, the European Commission has not been able to adequately perform its control function.
Full-text available
The paper examines the impact of the European Semester on the European social dimension. The new coordination mechanism aims to strengthen economic policy coordination in order to fill the original EMU constitutional gap deriving from the choice to create a common currency without having an economic union in place. Its structure, which combines soft law and hard law procedures, allows EU institutions to exercise policy formulation, supervision and guidance on issues touching upon virtually the entire spectrum of Member States’ economic and social policies. The analysis shows that in its early cycles the Semester tended to prioritize economic objectives, such as budgetary discipline, over competing social ones. Indeed, social security systems have been mainly taken into consideration because of their impact on public finances. However, there are signs of a progressive reorientation of the strategy adopted at supranational level. Indeed, the recommendations adopted in the 2013 cycle of the European Semester pay greater attention to social objectives, while the Commission has recently taken some initiatives that should contribute to find a better balance between the ‘economic’ and the ‘social’ within the EMU.
The significant increase in youth unemployment in different parts of Europe caused by the economic crisis has led to the European Council Recommendation on Establishing a Youth Guarantee (2013). This Guarantee addresses the so-called ‘NEET’ (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) younger than 25 years of age and stipulates that employment, education or training shall be provided within a period of 4 months. As the initiative is relatively recent, in-depth analyses of its contents and implantation in the Member States are still missing. This paper analyses the European Recommendation and its implementation in Spain, evaluating its potential to improve the situation of the young people and society as a whole and its risks in provoking undesired side-effects. Our results question if the whole target group will be reached and highlight the measures’ low potential to promote a real and durable change. Increasing precariousness and insecurity and the tendency to only redistribute existing labour make it conceivable that the Guarantee may contribute to converting precariousness into a new labour paradigm for the whole population. The insufficient and retroactive funding of the Youth Guarantee can provoke negative side-effects for other social policies and the country's development. We conclude with several recommendations on how to improve the Youth Guarantee and its implementation.
This book examines how and to what extent the European Employment Strategy and the Open Method of Coordination (OMC) on Social Protection and Social Inclusion have influenced national labour market and social welfare policies. Focusing on the implementation of the OMC in different national environments , this book examines how the proposals and targets of the OMC are interpreted and implemented within the context of existing national employment and welfare regimes. At a theoretical level and on the basis of national case studies, the book considers how OMC objectives, guidelines, targets, and recommendations may reshape the domestic institutional framework, how learning and participation of governmental bodies are organized across different hierarchical levels, and how non-state actors may be involved in the formulation and implementation of national reform plans. The authors conclude that the OMC has contributed significantly to both substantive and procedural reforms, in spite of the many institutional barriers to Europeanization in this policy area. Featuring comparative case studies across a number of European states, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of sociology, political science, public policy, and international relations.
Based on the findings of a large-scale, comparative research project, this volume systematically assesses the institutional design and national influence of the Open Method of Coordination in Social Inclusion and Social Protection (pensions and health/long-term care), at the European Union level and in ten EU Member States.