Amsterdam Centre for European Law and Governance

ACELG Presentation: Europe in Need of a New Deal: On Federalism, Free Market and the Right to Strike

Federico Fabbrini, European University Institute

27Mar2012 13:15 - 14:15


Federico Fabbrini, European University Institute

The speaker will present his latest article forthcoming in the Georgetown Journal of International Law (2012). The article analyses the protection of the right to strike in Europe in a comparative perspective with the United States (US). It argues that the overlap and interplay between state law and European Union (EU) law in the field of industrial relations has generated major tensions. Although the protection of collective labour rights varies widely across EU member states, the development of a judge-made standard for the regulation of industrial action at the supranational level has challenged the effectiveness of the protection of the right to strike in most EU countries. In fact, the right to strike has been recognized at the EU level, but has been subjected to significant limitations in order to ensure free market principles. As the article claims, nevertheless, the dynamics which Europe is currently experimenting are not sui generis and rather reveal numerous analogies with the constitutional experience of the US. For long time tensions between social rights guarantees and free market rules have characterized the US because of the interaction between state and federal law. During the New Deal, however, the US found a way to address the challenge of protecting labour rights in a federal system committed to the free market by enacting federal legislation such as the Wagner Act.

In his presentation Federico Fabbrini explores how additional reforms may be envisaged in the EU constitutional system to strengthen collective labour rights vis-à-vis free market principles and advances the argument that Europe should enact an EU regulation setting a standard for the protection of strike action in labour-management disputes having a cross-border dimension. Taking also into account the unprecedented effects of the current economic crisis, the article concludes that if Europe wants to take the right to collective action seriously and strike a new balance between market integration and social protections, it needs a New Deal.


Federico Fabbrini is a PhD researcher at the European University Institute in Florence. His doctoral dissertation, entitled "Fundamental Rights in Europe: Challenges and Transformations of a Multilevel System in Comparative Perspective", is due to be finished in the first half of 2012. During his Ph.D. Studies he worked as an aide to Justice Sabino Cassese of the Constitutional Court of Italy. Federico Fabbrini is coordinator of the International Association of Constitutional Law Research Group on "Constitutional Responses to Terrorism" and Founding Member of the European research network on "EU Fundamental Rights".

Venue and registration

Tuesday, 27 March 2012 , 13.15 – 14.15
Oudemanhuispoort 4-6, 1012 CN Amsterdam, A 0.09

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  • Oudemanhuispoort

    Oudemanhuispoort 4-6 | 1012 CN Amsterdam
    +31 (0)20 525 3361

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Published by  ACELG