In the Laval and Viking cases, the European Court of Justice gave economic freedoms precedence over fundamental social rights, and restricted the right to collective bargaining and action. These judgments violate fundamental rights, set out in national constitutions and legislation, Article 28 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and numerous international instruments.
The EU is not only an economic union, but has as its main objective to improve the living and working conditions of its citizens. The principle of social progress is of fundamental importance for Europeans. The ETUC is pressing for a Social Progress Protocol to be added to the EU Treaties to underline this point. Such a protocol would clearly state that economic freedoms cannot take precedence over fundamental social rights. The protocol would be binding at the highest level and influence the decisions of the European Court of Justice.