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Rebecca Zahn

Labour law – comprising individual employment laws and the collective regulation of work by trade unions and employers – is inherently political. It involves not only the legal regulation of the work relationship, but also broader policy choices about the nature of society and the distribution of resources. As a result, any sophisticated study of the discipline mandates an understanding of both labour law’s legislative content and the social, political and economic context within which it has evolved and within which its legislation plays out. ‘European Labour Law’ is no different in this regard. National understandings of 28 labour law systems permeate the politics surrounding the development of a ‘social’ Europe and vice versa. This exchange between law and politics takes place on different levels, with national ideas moving across borders and percolating to the EU level, and EU decisions filtering down to the national level. Notwithstanding the general recognition that law and politics go hand in hand in providing an understanding of the development of a social side to European integration, the extent to which scholars of ‘European Labour Law’ have regard to other disciplines is limited. This chapter discusses the shortcomings of this approach and suggests that insights from the EU Studies literature on Europeanisation could help labour law scholars to better understand the impact of ‘European Labour Law’ on national labour law systems and, as a result, provide us with valuable future research agendas.