EU Labour Law
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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.
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Chapter 9: Postscript

A. C.L. Davies

Extract

9. Postscript EU labour law is constantly changing and, however immersed you might be in the subject, there is always the potential for a surprise. It is no exaggeration to say that the much-debated Viking and Laval cases transformed the subject’s landscape. So with the caveat that predicting the future is a dangerous game, I want to conclude this book by revisiting some of the themes from Chapters 1 and 2 and considering the prospects for the immediate future. We saw in Chapter 1 that the justifications for EU labour law have shifted over time. At present, there is a particular focus on the competitiveness of the EU in a globalised world economy. This concern has been enhanced by the economic crisis and worries about the stability of the euro. This focus manifests itself through Commission policy documents on flexicurity, talk of ‘modernising the European Social Model’, and the ‘regulating for competitiveness’ argument. This agenda – like similar ‘third way’ agendas at national level – is ambiguous in important ways about the role of labour law. On one hand, it is not explicitly hostile towards labour law. For example, the ‘regulating for competitiveness’ agenda is concerned with identifying and promoting the economic benefits of regulated labour markets. On the other hand, some aspects of labour law do not seem to fit very easily into the policy prescriptions. For example, under flexicurity the shift of focus from job security (keeping people in a job) to employment security (keeping people employed in some job...

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