The Performance of the European Union in the International Labour Organization

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Series Details Vol.33, No.6, November 2011, p651-666
Publication Date November 2011
ISSN 0703-6337
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This article examines European Union (EU) performance by assessing its effectiveness in the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the relevance of the EU to its major stakeholders between 1992 and 2010. Making a distinction between technical and political domains, it maps the ILO policy-making structures in which the EU must operate. In the technical domain, it argues that although the EU has been effective in uploading its policy preferences into ILO labour standards, the relevance of collective EU representation to the member states has marginally increased since 1992 by comparison to the previous 20 years. In the political domain, there has been considerable progress enhancing EU performance in promoting compliance with labour standards within the ILO’s monitoring system, although the increase results more from higher relevance than from greater effectiveness.

It also argues that the institutional environment of the ILO, constituted by its rules, norms and practices, plays an important role in assessing EU performance. Doing so calls into question established assumptions about EU behaviour in international organisations.

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