Volume 45 (2008) / Issue 5
The reference to “social market economy” introduced in the Lisbon Treaty seems to fit with the political theory guiding the Court of Justice in its recent decisions in Viking and Laval. Through these judgments, the Court promotes the ideal of a European Community which integrates not only in economic but also in social terms. The article discusses the practical ways and the legal means by which it realizes this ideal. First, the Court first has to make clear the relevance of EC internal market law in the field of collective labour action (industrial action). The Court uses both the Directive on posted workers and the Treaty–based rights to economic freedom. Second, the Court has to reconcile market and social elements of the European integration. It uses a model of balancing of economic and social objectives. However, at both these two stages, difficulties arise.
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