The Domestic Regulation of Transnational Labour Markets: EU Enlargement and the Politics of Labour Migration in Switzerland and Ireland


The entry of 10 new eastern countries in the European Union on 1 May 2004 raised several debates in Europe regarding the maintenance of national wage and labour standards in the EU 15. The significant wage differentials between ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states were believed to potentially give rise to important migration flows that individual member states would not be able to control if the rules of the Single Market, and especially freedom of movement, were directly extended to the EU 10. Among ‘old’ member states, many governments were especially afraid that Eastern European workers, once they would have gained access to the Single European Market and its four freedoms, would move massively to more affluent countries and exert great pressure on wages, labour standards and welfare states (Boeri and Brücker 2000; Kvist 2004). This was believed to be possible either through independent migration or through the use of posted workers from low-wage countries (Menz 2005). The fear of the ‘Polish plumber’ raised during the ratification of the European Constitution in France in 2005 mainly revolved around this latter issue.


Labour Market Trade Union Collective Bargaining Labour Market Regulation Labour Market Opening 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author would like to thank the editors and contributors of this volume, as well as André Mach and Yannis Papadopoulos for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this chapter. Funding by the Swiss National for Scientific Research is gratefully acknowledged.


  1. Afonso, A. (2007). “Policy Change and the Politics of Expertise: Economic Ideas and Immigration Control Reforms in Switzerland”. Swiss Political Science Review 13 (1): 1–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Afonso, A. and M. Maggetti (2006). “Bilaterals 2: Reaching the Limits of the Swiss Third Way?” In Church, C., ed., Switzerland and the European Union. London: Routledge: 215–233.Google Scholar
  3. Baccaro, L. and M. Simoni (2004). The Irish Social Partnership and the “Celtic Tiger” Phenomenon. Geneva: International Institute for Labour Studies, DP/154.Google Scholar
  4. Boeri, T. and H. Brücker, eds (2000). The Impact of Eastern Enlargement on Employment and Labour Markets in the EU Member States. Berlin and Milano: European integration consortium DIW, CEPR, FIEF, IAS, IGIER.Google Scholar
  5. Bonoli, G. and A. Mach (2000). “Switzerland: Adjustment Politics Within Institutional Constraints”. In Scharpf, F. W. and V. Schmidt, eds., Welfare and Work in the Open Economy. Oxford: Oxford University Press: 131–173.Google Scholar
  6. Cornelius, W. A. and M. Rosenblum (2005). “Immigration and Politics”. Annual Review of Political Science 8: 99–119.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Crouch, C. (1993). Industrial Relations and European State Traditions. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  8. Department of the Taoiseach (2006). Towards 2016: Ten-Year Framework Social Partnership Agreement 2006–2016. Dublin: Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  9. Djelic, M.-L. and K. Sahlin-Andersson (2006). Transnational Governance: Institutional Dynamics of Regulation. Cambridge, UK; New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Doyle, N., G. Hughes, and E. Wadensjö (2006). Freedom of Movement for Workers from Central and Eastern Europe: Experiences in Ireland and Sweden. Stockholm: Swedish Institute for European Policy Studies.Google Scholar
  11. Dupont, C. and P. Sciarini (2006). “Back to the future: Bilaterals 1”. In Church, C., ed., Switzerland and the European Union. London: Routledge: 2002–214.Google Scholar
  12. EIRO (2005) “Union Density Declines to Around a Third”. European Industrial Relations Observatory Online (10) available at http://www/ 07 July 2008).
  13. EIRO (2008). “Unions Fear ECJ Ruling in Laval Case Could Lead to Social Dumping”. European Industrial Relations Observatory Online (1) available at http://www/ 07 July 2008).
  14. European Science Foundation (2006) “Globalisation, Transnationalisation and Increasing Uncertainty in European Countries”, available at 02 June 2008).
  15. Eurostat (2005). GDP per capita Varied by One to Five Across the EU 25 Member States (press release). Luxembourg: Eurostat.Google Scholar
  16. Fischer, A., S. Nicolet, and P. Sciarini (2002). “Europeanisation of Non-EU Countries: The Case of Swiss Immigration Policy Towards the EU”. West European Politics 25 (4): 143–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fluder, R. and B. Hotz-Hart (1998). “Switzerland: Still as Smooth as Clockwork?” Ferner and Hyman (eds) Changing Industrial Relations in Europe 262–282.Google Scholar
  18. Gajewska, K. (2006). “Restrictions in Labor Free Movement after the EU-Enlargement 2004: Explaining Variation Among Countries in the Context of Elites’ Strategies Towards the Radical Right”. Comparative European Politics 4 (4): 379–398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. George, A. L. and A. Bennett (2005). Case Studies and Theory Development in the Social Sciences. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  20. Hall, P. A. and R. C. Taylor (1996). “ Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms”. Political Studies 44 (5): 936–957.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hardiman, N. (2002). “From Conflict to Co-ordination: Economic Governance and Political Innovation in Ireland”. West European Politics 25 (4): 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hardiman, N. (2006). “Politics and Social Partnership: Flexible Network Governance”. The Economic and Social Review 37 (3): 343–374.Google Scholar
  23. Immergut, E. (1997). “The Normative Roots of the New Institutionalism: Historical Institutionalism and Comparative Policy Studies”. In Benz, A. and W. Seibel, eds, Theorieentwicklung in der Politikwissenschaft: Eine Zwischenbilanz. Baden-Baden: Nomos.Google Scholar
  24. Katzenstein, P. (1985). Small States in World Markets: Industrial Policy in Europe. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  25. Kvist, J. (2004). “Does EU Enlargement Start a Race to the Bottom? Strategic Interaction among EU Member States in Social Policy”. Journal of European Social Policy 14 (3): 301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mach, A., S. Haeusermann, and I. Papadopoulos (2004). “Social Policy Making under Strain in Switzerland”. Swiss Political Science Review 10 (2): 33–59.Google Scholar
  27. Menz, G. (2002). “Patterns in EU Labour Immigration Policy: National Initiatives and European Responses”. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 28 (4): 723–742.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Menz, G. (2005). Varieties of Capitalism and Europeanization: National Response Strategies to the Single European Market: Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Milner, H. V. and R. O. Keohane (1996). “Internationalization and Domestic Politics: An Introduction”. In Milner, H. V. and R. O. Keohane, eds, Internationalization and Domestic Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press: 3–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. National Economic and Social Council (2006). Migration Policy. Dublin: National Economic and Social Council.Google Scholar
  31. Oesch, D. (2007). “Weniger Koordination, mehr Markt? Kollektive Arbeitsbeziehungen und Neokorporatismus in der Schweiz seit 1990“. Swiss Political Science Review 13 (3): 337–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Orenstein, M. and H.-P. Schmitz (2006). “The New Transnationalism and Comparative Politics”. Comparative Politics 38 (4).Google Scholar
  33. Papadopoulos, I. (2001). “How Does Direct Democracy Matter? The Impact of Referendum Votes on Politics and Policy-Making”. In Lane, J.-E., ed., The Swiss Labyrinth: Institutions, Outcomes and Redesign. London: Frank Cass: 35–58.Google Scholar
  34. Polanyi, K. (1957). The Great Transformation. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  35. Scharpf, F. W. (1999). Governing in Europe: Effective and Democratic? Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Smith, N. J.-A. (2005). Showcasing Globalisation?: The Political Economy of the Irish Republic. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Wallace, J., P. Gunnigle, and G. McMahon (2004). Industrial Relation in Ireland –Third Edition. Dublin: Gill & McMillan.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of LausanneLausanneSwitzerland

Personalised recommendations