Promoting Labour Standards through the European Neighbourhood Policy

Timea Pál, Franklin Maduko, Laszlo Bruszt

Research output: Working paper


This study examines the effectiveness of the EU’s efforts to improve labour standards among its neighbouring countries through its market integration-based regulatory governance approach. We consider the European Neighbourhood Policy as a critical case for assessing the prospects and limitations of the EU’s broader agenda to promote non-trade related policy objectives through its trade policy. Using a combination of regression and comparative analysis (in Moldova and Morocco),we show that upgrading in conditionality, assistance and dialogue can contribute to improvements in labour standards, albeit with significant shortcomings. In the absence of greater EU commitment towards strengthening domestic institutions, engaging labour organizations and adopting a problemsolving approach, EU-led improvements on the books will not result in changes on the ground. Even formal changes will be restricted to areas that are compatible with other major EU policy objectives, such as market integration, political and human rights. In this context, improvements at the implementation level have been facilitated to some extent by supplementary initiatives by labour organizations, albeit within the constraints of weak state capacity.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages31
Publication statusPublished online - 2 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameSSRN Electronic Journal
ISSN (Electronic)1028-3625


  • Trade policy
  • labour standards
  • European Union
  • non-trade related policy objectives
  • European Neighbourhood Policy
  • regulatory governance


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