Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

The impossible necessity of European labour law

Collins, Hugh ORCID: 0000-0002-2142-2208 (2011) The impossible necessity of European labour law. In: Muller, Sam, Zouridis, Stavros, Frishman, Morly and Kistemaker, Laura, (eds.) The Law of the Future and the Future of Law. Forum for international criminal and humanitarian law series. Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher, Oslo, Norway, pp. 453-468. ISBN 9788293081289

Full text not available from this repository.


When the EC/EU was founded, it was believed that it would be unnecessary in the common market to regulate labour relations at the federal level, and also politically very difficult because each country had established a delicate legal balance between the interests of capital, labour, and government (the taxpayer). But this arrangement is probably no longer possible because of the free market in services and the growth of the service economy. Creating an EU labour law that balances the relative interests of the groups could present the EU with its greatest challenge so far, not just because it is politically controversial (both in the sense that the rules will be disputed and in the sense that many will dispute that the EU has a role at all), but also because it is doubtful that common rules would be suitable for the variety of capitalist institutional arrangements in the different countries, particularly the divergence between the corporatists arrangements of Germany and Scandinavia, on the one hand, and the more liberal market approach in the UK. But the EU would be well advised not to go down the route of the USA and its federal labour law for a number of reasons – the uniform straightjacket has atrophied employment law, failed to adapt to a service economy, and also failed (as the recent health reform problems demonstrated) to join up labour market regulation with the development of a welfare system. So the EU needs to find some paradoxical solution which both achieves a uniform federal solution but at the same time is sensitive to local difference and capable of evolution. No easy task.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2011 Torkel Opsahl Academic EPublisher
Divisions: Law
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
K Law > K Law (General)
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2012 15:39
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2021 23:36

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item