The Luxembourg European Council of 20-21 November 1997, also known as the ‘Jobs Summit’, was intended to address what was perceived as an employment crisis in the EU, reflected in the adoption of the employment title by the Treaty of Amsterdam concluded in June 1997. It launched the process envisaged in the Employment Title before the Treaty of Amsterdam had been ratified. The open method of coordination envisaged by Article 128 EC (now Article 148 TFEU) of the Treaty’s Employment Title thus became known as the ‘Luxembourg process’. The process involves drawing up annual employment guidelines, national employment action plans and a joint employment report (Article 148 TFEU).
The Luxembourg process undertakes the coordination of Member States’ employment policies in the form of employment guidelines and National Action Plans (NAPs). From 1997 to 2002, the Guidelines rested on four pillars: entrepreneurship, employability, adaptability and equal opportunities. Since the 2003 Employment Guidelines, the number of guidelines is strongly reduced and the four pillar structure is replaced by three main objectives: full employment, improving quality and productivity at work, and strengthening social cohesion and inclusion. Moreover, although the Luxembourg process continues on an annual basis, the 2003 Employment Guidelines also introduced a three-year cycle whereby the content of the guidelines will only be revised every three years, in order to allow a better assessment of implementation of the guidelines, which continues to take place every year.
See also: European Employment Strategy.