Sigfrido Ramírez Pérez

European Trade Unions from the Single European Act to Maastricht: 1985-1992

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This article takes stock of the scholarly debate over the reasons that brought European trade unions to support the Treaty reforms from the Single European Act to the Treaty of Maastricht. It focuses on the central role played by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and its major components between 1985 to 1992. On the basis of trade union records and European archives, it argues that the support given by the ETUC to the Treaty reforms defended by the European Commission led by Jacques Delors implied a partial victory for European trade unionism in the context of severe national defeats and a permanent blockade of Social Europe led by Great Britain. As a result, the ETUC became a more cohesive, legitimate and capable organization than before 1985, gaining historical influence in the process of European integration in the context of the Fall of the Wall and the rise of Neo-liberalism.


  • ETUC
  • Treaty negotiations
  • Social Europe
  • Trade Unions
  • Social Chapter


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