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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

13 - A Tale of Two Documents

from Part IV - The Crisis as a Crisis of the EU’s Social Character


Legal texts are the outcome of political processes. As such they provide an insight into the deep ideological changes that may be taking place within any legal system. In this chapter, we propose to contrast two important instruments of the EC/EU, the first being the Community Charter of the Fundamental Social Rights of Workers of 1989, and the other being the EU Social Pillar of 2017. The aim is not to engage in a literal compare and contrast of the two instruments, as one might compare and contrast apples and oranges; rather, it is to engage in a contextual compare and contrast of the two instruments, with a view to understanding what they tell us about the changing economic and political direction of the EU. In doing so we aim better to understand the evolution of social policy, the changing role of trade unions within the EU, and the inactivity in relation to employment rights despite the great changes in the global economy and working practices since the last employment law directive was produced in 2008.