The article provides a critical account of the impact of the European Employment Strategy (EES) on national labour market policies and labour law systems. It gives an overview of the development of the EES from the 1990s until the introduction of the European Social Pillar (ESP) and analyses its impact in the Member States of the European Union. In particular, it highlights the origins of the EES in debates about European Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and examines the importance and the specific nature of the new governance approach adopted by the EES and its significance for labour law reform in the Member States. [---]