Ilo- eu law

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The impact of European Community law on the work within the ILO

Linnéa Blommé

December 2007


1 Introduction 3
1.1 Background 3
1.2 Purpose and structure 3
2 The EU and ILO as organisations 3
2.1 The ILO’s mandate and the Member States’ commitments 3
2.2 The EU organisation and its Member States’ commitments 4
2.2.1 EC and EU 4
2.2.2 Generalremarks concerning the EU and its Member States’ commitments 5
2.3 The relation between the EU and the ILO 6
3 The external competence of the EC 8
3.1 Explicit and implicit external competence 8
3.2 Exclusive external competence 8
3.3 Shared external competence 9
3.4 External competence in fields affected by the work within the ILO 10
3.5 Consequences of competence infringements 124 Conflicts of norms between the EU and the ILO 13
4.1 The relation between Community law and earlier international agreements 13
4.2 ILO Conventions where the Community has been deemed to have exclusive competence 13
4.2.1 Convention 170 13
4.2.2 Convention 185 14
4.2.3 The Maritime Labour Convention 14
4.2.4 Convention 188 15
4.3 ILO Conventions where competence isshared between the EC and its Member States 16
5 Conclusion and reflections 17
5.1 Factors crucial to assessment of the EC’s external competence 17
5.2 EU and ILO standpoints concerning the conflicts and the future 17
6 Concluding remarks 19
7 Sources 20
Legislation 20
EU 20
ILO 20
Official publications 20
Sweden 20
EU 20
ILO 21
Secondary works 22
Case law 22Internet sources 22
Appendix 24

1 Introduction

1.1 Background

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is the UN specialised agency for issues of employment and working life. The ILO’s mission is to promote social justice by improving conditions of labour.[1]
Several of the fields forming the subject of ILO Conventions and Recommendations also come within the competence of theEuropean Union (EU) in the social sphere. The EU cannot be a member of the ILO[2], but has on several occasions, in connection with conflicts of norms between Community law and ILO Conventions, made declarations recommending Member States to ratify or not ratify the Conventions concerned. The European Commission particularly has worked actively to influence the ILO activity of the Member States, withthe result that EU-ILO relations and the scope of the EU’s external competence have become topics of discussion.

1.2 Purpose and structure

This memorandum sets out to clarify the division of competence between the EU and its Member States in matters relating to the work within the ILO, and also to describe the relationship between the EU and the ILO. The memorandum derives from workexperience placement with the Swedish Ministry of Employment in connection with work on a Ll.M. (Juris Kandidat) degree thesis, and is to serve as independent documentation for a Nordic tripartite seminar on EU-ILO relations which will be taking place in the spring of 2008.

The presentation begins with a description of the ILO’s mandate and the Member States’ commitments to the organisation.Understanding of the problems attending the division of competence between the EU and the ILO requires a basic insight into the institutions of the EU and their several competencies, and the presentation will therefore continue with a description of how the EU is organised and of the Members States’ obligations to the EU. An account will then be given of relations between the two organisations. This in turnwill be followed by an account of the external competence of the EU, i.e. its authority to enter into international agreements with third countries, and an analysis of the fields in which conflicts of norms have arisen between the EU and the ILO. The aim in this connection is to give as exhaustive a description as possible, with the reservation that there might be conflicts of norms occurring...
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