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Philip Rathgeb

Research Findings

The Eurozone poses challenges for labour at large – and not just for the ‘South’

September 2, 2020

The financial crisis of 2008 and the ensuing sovereign debt crisis that engulfed the Eurozone were asymmetric shocks with uneven consequences. Unlike the creditor countries of the northern core, peripheral Eurozone countries such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece were subject to various forms of policy conditionality, mandating the implementation of deep liberalising reforms in exchange for the receipt of financial assistance from the Troika or the European Central Bank.

As a result, trade unions in the periphery suffered heavy defeats when governments implemented unprecedented liberalising reforms of labour market and welfare state institutions. The uneven impacts of the Euro crisis governance reinforced a common narrative highlighting the core-periphery cleavage between the ‘North’ and ‘South’. These divisions have resurfaced acrimoniously in the recent negotiation of the EU response to the unfolding Covid-19 crisis.

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