Table of Contents

Global Governance of Labour Rights

Global Governance of Labour Rights

Assessing the Effectiveness of Transnational Public and Private Policy Initiatives

Leuven Global Governance series

Edited by Axel Marx, Jan Wouters, Glenn Rayp and Laura Beke

This insightful book incorporates perspectives from several disciplines to provide a unique systematic analysis of emerging public and private initiatives in global labour rights governance. The expert contributors explore the complexities of labour rights governance in a global economy characterized by transnational supply chains. They assess how transnational, intergovernmental and private initiatives aim to address the challenges of global labour rights protection before discussing the effectiveness of these initiatives and presenting new empirical findings. The book concludes with a detailed reflection on how to strengthen the global regime of labour rights governance.

Chapter 3: The EU’s social dimension and its external trade relations

Samantha Velluti

Subjects: law - academic, human rights, labour, employment law, regulation and governance, politics and public policy, human rights, regulation and governance


In the past decade the European Union (EU) has been at the forefront of attempts to strengthen and promote the social dimension of globalization through trade, focusing chiefly on the promotion of labour standards internationally through increased cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and through its external trade policies. The injection of a social dimension in the EU’s external trade policy raises many complex questions in relation to competence, coherence, effectiveness and legitimacy of the EU as a global actor. This analysis is particularly prominent and made necessary by fundamental changes introduced by the 2009 Treaty of Lisbon (TL) in relation to the constitutional design of EU External Relations, and in particular the Common Commercial Policy (CCP), as well the conferral of the same legal value of the Treaties to the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (EUCFR). By injecting a normative approach into its external relations through Articles 3(5) and 21 TEU and, in particular, by including social and environmental goals into its trade policy, the EU is clearly attempting to assert itself as a global human rights actor. The chapter explores the role the EU has committed itself to in relation to the promotion of social rights and international labour standards in its CCP.

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