What Implications for the ‘European Social Model’?
Edited by Marie-Ange Moreau
16. European labour law after Laval Catherine Barnard and Simon Deakin INTRODUCTION Brian Bercusson was the first scholar ‘convincingly to make the case for European labour law as a wide-ranging discipline in its own right, with a distinct identity separate from national labour law systems, but influenced by them’.1 In his landmark treatise on the subject, Bercusson saw the core of European labour law as the symbiosis between EU level norms and those operating at the level of national labour law systems.2 EU level norms on labour law matters were both a reflection of, and a shaping influence on, the traditions of the national regimes. EU labour law drew on the experience of the Member States in such matters as the working environment, information and consultation and aspects of employment protection (acquired rights and collective redundancies), consolidating existing national laws and extending their effects within the ‘social space’ of the internal market. At the same time, EU law was innovative both in terms of its subject matter, as in the case of the impulse it gave to the extension of the principle of equal treatment in employment, and in its methods, through the development of the techniques of social dialogue and the open method of coordination as applied in the areas of employment policy and social cohesion. It seemed that European labour law, so conceived, had achieved a certain legitimacy notwithstanding the neglect of social policy issues in the Treaty of Rome, an omission only partly remedied by later developments....
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