Improving knowledge on the impact of central- and Eastern European social partners on competitive labour market reforms facing the global crisis

Improving knowledge on the impact of central- and Eastern European social partners on competitive labour market reforms facing the global crisis

The financial and economic crisis had a strong and persistent impact on the European economy. As a response to these circumstances, European countries introduced different measures to change the labour code to mitigate the negative labour market effects of the economic downturn and increase competitiveness of Europe. Labour law measure were core elements of these changes and were observably adjusted in many European countries. The labour market reforms often affect the quality of collective bargaining.

In some countries – most of them with a longstanding tradition of social dialogue - social partners consulted these reforms. This was rarely the case in countries (especially in CEE), where the social dialogue has been weakly developed due to the missing traditions. In the region of the project’s research interest, labour market policies are often lacking consultation and bi- or tripartite coordination, which challenge economic growth, competitiveness, job creation and job quality. Therefore, the project CEELAB will relate to the analysis of the policy environment and implementation of structural labour market reforms in the framework of the European Semester process.


The project investigates, whether and how social partners at all appropriate levels contribute in government consultation and/ or autonomous negotiation to the creation of more and better jobs in order to recover from the crisis. it is necessary to assess what kind of reforms have more potentials to achieve a sustainable job-rich recovery and which one were counterproductive. Therefore, the project research aims to find out more about the contribution of the cross-sectoral industrial relation structures to labour market reforms with a focus on CEE.

The project investigates the contribution of industrial relation structures, including social dialogue, to reach economic and social outcomes in terms of economic growth and competitiveness, social fairness and job creation.

However, most of the research on the European Semester are about its economic and financial implications and less on the influence of social dialogue. The project research closes to some extents this gap by investigating the impact of national social partners on the implementation of the country specific recommendations in those countries, which display weak industrial relation structures. This meets the priority to investigate the role of industrial relation structures including social dialogue, in the context of the European Semester.

The research is divided in two parts. They both will be integrated in the conclusions at the end of the project. Main research questions are:


  1. “Analysing labour market reforms”: Labour law legislation and employment policies in CEE countries – facing the impact of the crisis (2007-2008)


  • How does the national social dialogue and social partners’ consultations, its deteriorations and improvements, develop in the process of changing labour market regimes in CEE since the crisis in 2007/2008?
  • What is the impact of the labour market reforms on collective agreements and collective bargaining coverage? (Different levels of collective bargaining should be taken into consideration, where appropriate).


  1. “Measuring the European semester results in the mirror of the system of industrial relations”


  • Which implementation processes on the national level take place, what for may be identified and what is the scope of social partners' dialogues if they are consulted?
  • What is the impact of European social partners on the analysis and country specific recommendations on the national level? (top-down)
  • What levels and what kinds of national social partner’s involvement in the implementation of the European Semester is measurable and what influence do they have on National reform programmes? (bottom up)
  • What is the feedback from national social partners for the country specific recommendations?



Project coordinator:

  • MGYOSZ-BusinessHungary

Project partners:

  • Hungarian public research university ELTE; project partner
  • The University of Rijeka. the Faculty of Law
  • Association of Employers of Slovenia (ZDS)
  • Montenegrin Employers’ Association (MEF)

Supporting partners:

  • ILO


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With financial support from the European Union.