Marc Clément

is a lawyer.


A number of recent cases have highlighted how “social dumping” can occur if companies register abroad so as to be exempt from collective labour agreements applicable in the countries in which they are operating. The European Court of Justice, called on to decide between the freedom to establish a business and the employment laws of individual member states, has been hesitant to rule in favour of employees. Disappointment at judgments may derive from the fact that the vocabulary of social protection often cannot be translated at a European level, writes Marc Clément: fundamental concepts are understood in different ways by Europeans, depending on their national culture. Before we ask the question of a social Europe, a legal solution to the co-existence of social Europes (in the plural) must be attempted.

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