EU Social and Labour Rights and EU Internal Market Law: Study for the EMPL Committee

Dagmar Schiek, Liz Oliver, Christopher Forde, Gabriella Alberti, Michael Doherty, Joanna Unterschuetz, Consuela Chacartegui Javega, Julia Lopez Lopez, Kerstin Ahlberg, Niklas Bruun

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


EU Social and Labour Rights have developed incrementally, originally through a set of legislative initiatives creating selective employment rights, followed by a non-binding Charter of Social Rights. Only in 2009, social and labour rights became legally binding through the Charter of Fundamental Rights for the European Union (CFREU). By contrast, the EU Internal Market - an area without frontiers where goods, persons, services and capital can circulate freely – has been enshrined in legally enforceable Treaty provisions from 1958. These comprise the economic freedoms guaranteeing said free circulation and a system ensuring that competition is not distorted within the Internal Market (Protocol 27 to the Treaty of Lisbon). Tensions between Internal Market law and social and labour rights have been observed in analyses of EU case law and legislation. This study explores responses by socio-economic and political actors at national and EU levels to such tensions, focusing on collective labour rights, rights to fair working conditions and rights to social security and social assistance (Articles 12, 28, 31, 34 Charter of Fundamental Rights for the European Union). On the basis of the current Treaties and the CFREU, the constitutionally conditioned Internal Market emerges as a way to overcome the perception that social and labour rights limit Internal Market law, or vice versa. On this basis, alternative responses to perceived tensions are proposed, focused on posting of workers, furthering fair employment conditions through public procurement and enabling effective collective bargaining and industrial action in the Internal Market.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBrussels
PublisherEuropean Parliament
Number of pages129
ISBN (Electronic)978-92-823-7955-4
ISBN (Print)978-92-823-7956-1
Publication statusPublished - 24 Sept 2015


  • European Union Law
  • Social Rights
  • Labour Rights
  • Economic Integration
  • European Court of Justice


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