Chapter 16: The European Union: a significant player in labour policymaking
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Grasping the European Union’s (EU) increasingly important role in labour policymaking across member states is not an easy task. It is not enough to untangle the complex set of EU institutions, laws, and policies in the field. It is equally important to consider the impact of the European integration process on the balance of power between capital and labour interests. This chapter thus first presents the relevant actors and the way in which they intervene in EU labour policymaking. Then we outline how the EU influenced labour policymaking from the start of the European integration process. This includes an analysis of its internal market programme and monetary union, which exposed workers and businesses to increased horizontal market integration pressures. We also discuss the much more vertical country-specific policy prescriptions that the EU began issuing annually after the 2008 financial crisis. Finally, we outline the recent COVID-19 pandemic and consequent developments.