The European Commission’s Ideas on Integrating Underrepresented Groups into the Labour Market

Lea Acre Foverskov*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The paper explores the European Commission’s ideas on social policy. It contributes to the debate on asymmetric economic and social policies in the EU from an ideational perspective. Analysing Commission reports on labour markets, employment, and social affairs over a fifteen-year period (2004–2018), I seek to understand what ideas on employment of underrepresented labour market groups are prominent in the reports and whether there is variation over time. To do so, I draw on the theoretical literature on ideas. The paper concludes that the Commission’s approach to underrepresented groups in the labour market has been and remains justified by an economic growth-discourse, leading to frames and policy ideas dominated by supply-side thinking. Thus, there has been a lack of new policy solutions to underrepresented labour market groups over the past fifteen years, revealing a lack of ideational innovation in the Commission’s early-stage policy formulation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Politics and Society
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)604-634
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 14 Aug 2020.


  • Ideas
  • Social policy
  • Labour market policy
  • European Commission

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