Industrial Relations in the New Europe

Industrial Relations in the New Europe

Enlargement, Integration and Reform

Edited by Peter Leisink, Bram Stejin and Ulke Veersma

This book presents an evidence-based assessment of the impact of EU enlargement on industrial relations and social standards in old and new EU Member States. It combines chapters which give an overview of the process of enlargement/integration and comparative socio-economic data at EU and national level, with chapters that present an in-depth analysis of the impact of European integration on national industrial relations. These in-depth analyses cover both a number of old EU Member States in Western Europe and new Member States in Central and Eastern Europe. The book combines supranational European, Western and Eastern perspectives on the impact of European integration.

Chapter 4: European Labour Standards’ Impacts on Accession Countries: The Hungarian Case

László Neumann

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, social policy and sociology, labour policy


László Neumann INTRODUCTION Immediately after the accession of the Central Eastern European Countries (CEECs) to the European Union, at a conference held in Prague on the impact of German-owned subsidiaries on CEECs, a German colleague asked the Czech deputy Minister of Labour what his understanding of the ‘European Social Model’ was. The unequivocal answer was that the Czech Republic had adapted the whole acquis communautaire including the directives on employment and social policy issues and consequently it had already met all of the European requirements. Certainly some sort of formal ‘Europeanization’ of labour laws and institutions had taken place in the course of preparing for accession and the above view also prevails among many politicians of other new Member States. In contrast with this rosy evaluation, a growing bulk of western literature reflects a deep concern about labour relations in the CEECs. Western ‘stakeholders’ in the enlargement have been fearing a ‘Trojan horse’ of deregulation and ‘Americanization’ coming from the East for a long time (Meardi 2002). Others argue that the enlargement of the EU puts the European Social Model in serious jeopardy (Vaughan-Whitehead 2003). The views of experts on the impact of the formal transposition of the acquis communautaire on the reality in the CEECs are fairly sceptical and they consider the gap between the law in the statutes and the law in action to be worrisome. For instance, according to Mária Ladó and Daniel VaughanWhitehead: ‘The low coverage of collective bargaining, combined with the insufficient development...

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