EU Labour Law

EU Labour Law

Elgar European Law series

A. C.L. Davies

The book explores the subject’s major policy themes, examines the various procedures by which EU labour law is made, and analyses key topics such as worker migration, equality, working time and procedures for workers’ participation in employers’ decision-making. It sets the legal materials in their policy context and identifies the important issues which have shaped the development of EU labour law and are likely to determine its future, including the economic crisis and the debate about fundamental rights in the EU.

Chapter 2: Regulatory Techniques

A. C.L. Davies

Subjects: law - academic, european law


This chapter explains the making of EU labour law and policy. We will begin by considering the EU’s competence in the field of EU labour law, before examining the process by which directives are made and implemented. We will focus in particular on the special role of the ‘social partners’ (the European Trade Union Confederation and a group of European employers’ associations) in the negotiation and implementation of labour law directives. In the second part of the chapter, we will consider the role of the Court of Justice as the interpreter of EU labour law in treaty articles or directives. We will examine the main ways in which cases arrive before the Court, and we will discuss some of the literature on the Court’s role. The Court is often regarded as especially political and purposive in its outlook, so we will assess the evidence for and against these claims. The third part of the chapter turns to the EU’s role in co-ordinating the Member States’ employment policies through what is currently labelled the Europe 2020 strategy. This involves setting EU-wide targets on matters such as reducing unemployment, translating those into targets for each Member State, and monitoring the Member States’ progress towards the targets. We will examine some of the advantages and disadvantages claimed for this approach, and how it relates to EU labour law. An important theme running through the chapter is the role of ‘reflexive regulation’, so it may be worth introducing this idea briefly at this point.1...

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