Full Employment. A Progressive Vision for Europe

Authors: Jeremy GREEN, Carlo D‘IPPOLITI, Marianne MUONA, Pim PAULUSMA, Dragan TEVDOVSKI, Michael WEATHERBURN and Benjamin WILHELM

Introduction of the paper

Inequality is corroding the economic and social foundations of Europe. Europe is not confronting a crisis of public debt but an employment crisis causing increasing inequality and undermining social solidarity. People throughout Europe are suffering from unemployment and precarious living conditions. This is not an inevitable or natural consequence of the economic crisis. It is a situation that has arisen in large part as a consequence of the prevailing approach to employment policies due to a fixation upon supply-side strategies while neglecting the crucial demand-side aspects of employment. The focus on supply-side measures has narrowed the debate on employment policy from both the left and the right, limiting the role of politics to making labour markets more efficient. Neither job creation nor the quality of jobs are part of the debate. Full employment is therefore a crucial step towards challenging the debilitating orthodoxy of the dominant economic governance paradigm.

Investments to create jobs need a broader monetary basis and firmer political will. In this context, European institutions – and here especially the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission – have the potential to support this agenda. Europe needs to increase capital for infrastructure investments as well as broaden the scope for the monetary policy pursued by the ECB. Additionally, short-term policy changes need to be made and implemented through the European Commission’s increased role in coordinating the economic policy of the Members States. In the long-term, however, Treaty changes will be necessary in order to sustain and advance the social-democratic idea of a Europe in the service of the majority of its citizens.

Background on the FEPS Young Academics Network

The Young Academics Network (YAN) was established in March 2009 by the Foundation of European Progressive Studies (FEPS) with the support of the Renner Institut to gather progressive PhD candidates and young PhD researchers, who are ready to use their academic experience in a debate about the Next Europe. The founding group was composed of awardees of the “Call for Paper” entitled “Next Europe, Next Left” – whose articles also help initiating the FEPS Scientific Magazine “Queries”. Quickly after, with the help of the FEPS member foundations, the group enlarged – presently incorporating around 30 outstanding and promising young academics.

FEPS YAN meets in the Viennese premises of Renner Institut, which offers great facilities for both reflections on the content and also on the process of building the network as such. Both elements constitute mutually enhancing factors, which due to innovative methods applied make this Network also a very unique project. Additionally, the groups work has been supervised by the Chair of the Next Left Research Programme, Dr. Alfred Gusenbauer – who at multiple occasions joined the sessions of the FEPS YAN, offering his feedback and guidance.

This paper is one of the results of the third cycle of FEPS YAN, (the first one ended with three papers in June 2011, while the second one led to five papers in spring 2013), in which six key themes were identified and were researched by FEPS YAN working groups. These topics encompass:Precarious employment in Europe; “Full employment: A progressive vision for Europe; “Get the party started: Modernizing progressive politics; “The 2014 European elections; “Enhancing EU enlargement” and “Young and easily allured? A comparative analysis on the relationship between populism and youth in Europe. Each of the meetings is an opportunity for the FEPS YAN to discuss the current state of their research, presenting their findings and questions both in the plenary, as also in the respective working groups. The added value of their work is the pan-European, innovative, interdisciplinary character – not to mention, that it is by principle that FEPS wishes to offer a prominent place to this generation of academics, seeing in it a potential to construct alternative that can attract young people to progressivism again. Though the process is very advanced already, the FEPS YAN remains a Network – and hence is ready to welcome new participants.

FEPS YAN plays also an important role within FEPS structure as a whole. The FEPS YAN members are asked to join different events (from large Conferences, such as FEPS “Call to Europe” or “Renaissance for Europe” and PES Convention to smaller High Level Seminars and Focus Group Meetings) and encouraged to provide inputs for publications (i.e. for FEPS Scientific Magazine “Queries”). Enhanced participation of the FEPS YAN Members in the overall FEPS life and increase of its visibility remains one of the strategic goals of the Network for 2014.

For more information please contact the FEPS colleagues in charge of the FEPS YAN’s coordination: Ania Skrzypek, FEPS Senior Research Fellow at ania.skrzypek@feps-europe.eu, or Judit Tanczos, FEPS Policy Advisor at judit.tanczos@feps-europe.eu.