Working programme 
Working Groups 
The Working Programme

The general objective of the work of the TN is to re-introduce and substantiate the concept of full employment (FE) into the economic policy discussion in the European Union, on the Community as well as on the national and regional/local level. 

 More specifically this includes the following three sub-objectives: 


  • an analytical understanding of the endogenous and external reasons, why full employment has been widely abandoned as economic policy goal (e.g. changes of economic structures, technological developments, the collapse of the Bretton Woods system of international cooperation, the acceleration of internationalisation/globalisation),

  • the elaboration of the necessary modifications and differentations which must be made in a full employment strategy in contemporary Europe as compared to the three decades after World War II,

  • the concretisation of the instrumental and institutional side of an appropriate full employment strategy as a multilayered policy on the European, the national and regional/local levels, paying particular attention to the mutual links between the different levels. 

Work content/Methodology

The work of the TN is divided in three working groups (wg), which constitute the four major work packages of the TN, which are sub-divided into several - from 5 to 8, altogether 26 - smaller work packages, each elaborated by one or two participants. Each of the major work packages deals with one specific group of factors the understanding of which is essential for the development of an adequate and realistic full employment strategy under the present circumstances. The four major groups are: 


  • Conceptual, historical and institutional dimensions of FE 
  • Macroeconomic requirements for FE 
  • Work organisation 
  • Structural Aspects 
In the understanding of the participants the thematic links amongst these groups are the following: 

Whereas the first group clarifies the background and the basic driving forces which have led first to a situation of quasi FE in the 1950s and 1960s and then to the present situation of persistently high unemployment, the second one elaborates the more general macroeconomic framework in which a FE strategy must be embedded under the new circumstances. The third group thematises the particular specificities which make it necessary to go beyond mere macro-policies. The specific structures affecting the workforce at the corporate, sectorial, technological and regional level require particular institutional arrangements and therefore lead back to the first working group. 

A FE strategy has to link the contemporary conceptual and theoretical policy orientation to the changes in economic structures and to the theoretical and political responses to these changes, resulting in a slowdown of general economic growth, new forms of work organisation and work content and a very complex sectorial and regional structure of the national economies and the European economy as a whole. While under the prevailing circumstances FE will not be achieved by simple Keynesian - or neo- or post-Keynesian - policy measures, an energetic macroeconomic policy change - particularly in the field of monetary, fiscal , income and exchange rate policies - is nevertheless necessary, even if it must operate under ecological constraints. But with regard to the changes mentioned above, particular emphasis has also to be placed on the plant and corporate level, where new forms of work organisation (outsourcing, teamwork, part-time work etc.) workers qualification and working time reduction must play a paramount role in a full employment oriented strategy which takes into account the new dimensions and intensity of international competition. 

Each working group works  roughly in the following five consecutive steps, which will be elaborated in detail for each working group below: 


  • a critical review of the main currents of thought (first 6 month) 
  • assessment of policies in member countries and the EU and in some instances comparison with US and/or Japan (6 months, 7 to 12) 
  • formulation of policy proposals for the EU, for coordinated actions and for member countries (12 months, 13-24) 
  • discussion of such proposals with officials from the EU, MCs, unions and employers associations (9 months, 25 - 33) 
  • revision and final draft of proposals (3 months, 34 - 36) 
The first three and the fifth step will be terminated by a group report containing the results of the preceding phase of work. 

The working programme of the working groups can be downloaded as Portable Document Format (pdf) file. The Adobe Acrobat reader which is needed for reading pdf-files can be obtained free from Adobe in English, French and German


Last Rev.: 9th August 1999