Daniela Izzi

Stability versus flexibility in EC law: where is the point of balance?

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The aim of this essay is to understand if and how the interest to the employment stability - that includes both the interest of non permanent workers to free themselves from precariousness and the interest of permanent workers to be adeguately protected from dismissal - is taken into account by European Community law. The research analyses first the soft law deriving from the open method of coordination of employment policies outlined in Title VIII of the Treaty, and then the hard law generated through the traditional method of legal harmonisation, as acutely interpreted by the European Court of Justice (see in particular the "Mangold" and "Adeneler" cases about fixed-term contracts and the "Seymour-Smith" case about dismissal). In the final paragraph, the author points out that the defence of the employment stability derives more from the "social sensibility" of the Court of Justice than from thousands of words pronounced by the European Employment Strategy about the job quality and the need to balance flexibility with security. Furthermore, the author indicates some steps which should be taken to better define, on a crucial question such as the one considered here, the physiognomy of the so called european social model.

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