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
Chapter 6: EU economic governance and labour rights: diversity and coherence in the EU, the Council of Europe and ILO instruments
Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, the European Union has been in search of effective policy responses to overcome the crisis and to rescue the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). This went hand in hand with a strong emphasis on ‘fiscal’ consolidation, stricter economic and budgetary surveillance and new enforcement mechanisms. Through the ‘Six Pack’ legislation and the European semester new legal and governance techniques have been introduced to keep convergence and reform agendas in place. In addition, specific measures were made for member states in budgetary difficulties with a strong emphasis on austerity. In this framework, the question is how this ‘economic governance’ can go together with ‘social governance’, having in mind that both economic and social progress are central aims of European integration. It has become clear that social challenges are either at the origin or at the outcome of economic governance mechanisms. Labour law is only one, though highly relevant, component in this economic governance context, as it includes ‘sensitive’ matters, such as wage setting, collective bargaining and retirement schemes. These issues are subject to monitoring through recommendations by the EU institutions and are part of national reform programmes.
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