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This article examines the principle of the rule of law (TEU, article 2) and its application to social and economic rights. The paper considers what is meant by the rule of law, and contends that it as a minimum it must mean that EU institutions and member states must act in accordance with the law, including international legal obligations. The paper considers the extent to which EU member states comply with the right to organize, the right to bargain collectively and the right to strike in accordance with ILO Conventions 87 and 98 and the European Social Charters Articles 5 and 6. It is shown from an examination of the reports of the supervisory bodies that the overwhelming majority of Member States are in breach of one or more of their obligations under these various provisions, and that many are pushed into non-compliance by the actions and demands of the EU institutions. Despite attempts by the Commission to give substance to the rule of law, we have moved in the social sphere to a position in which the rules of law has been eclipsed, with profound implications for democracy and the future of the Union.


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© Liberia Dykinson. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation
Ewing, K. D., & Hendy, J. (2015). The eclipse of the rule of law: Trade union rights and the EU [Electronic version]. Revista Derecho Social y Empresa, 4, 80-112.