This concluding chapter refocuses on two sets of issues which highlight the competing approaches to European integration: the tension between intergovernmentalism and supranationalism, and that between regulation and deregulation. These competing visions have resulted in a European Employment Strategy which is itself an uneven synthesis of rival, yet overlapping, policy discourses. That the attempted synthesis is uneven is evidenced by the dominance of economic policy discourses, which emphasise labour market efficiency and flexibility, over social policy discourses which have been traditionally concerned with employment protection and social protection. Furthermore, the Employment Strategy has exposed tensions between the adoption of minimal regulatory standards at EU level, permitting regulatory competition between Member States (negative integration), and centralised harmonisation through common European policies to shape the conditions under which markets operate (positive integration).
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