Austerity-Based Labour Market Reforms in Greece v. Fundamental Rights in the Aftermath of the European Debt Crisis: An Analysis of Supranational and National Bodies’ Jurisprudence

Nikolaos A. Papadopoulos*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The recent debt crisis in Europe has resulted in a significant number of structural reforms implemented in EU Member States across various fields, including the labour market, either in the context of the bailout mechanisms or the EU Economic Governance framework. This development has provoked fundamental rights concerns and has consequently given rise to litigation strategies that put austerity reforms under the test of legality before supranational and national competent bodies and courts. However, the jurisprudence that has developed in that regard seems incoherent and shows real differences in approach. This study analyses the paths of judicial reasoning that supranational and Greek bodies have adopted in fundamental rights cases challenging austerity-based labour market reforms implemented in Greece during the European Debt Crisis. It concludes that different paths of reasoning have been adopted, which could even be regarded as conflicting at several instances. They are thus reflecting the well-known particularities and discrepancies of fundamental rights protection in Europe as well as the conflicting relationship of social rights with economic and fiscal considerations imposed by austerity in times of crisis and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)421-450
Number of pages30
JournalEuropean Public Law
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2020

JEL classifications

  • g01 - Financial Crises
  • k33 - International Law
  • k31 - Labor Law
  • k10 - Basic Areas of Law: General (Constitutional Law)


  • European Sovereign Debt Crisis
  • labour market
  • Greek Debt Crisis
  • Constitutional law
  • European Court of Human Rights
  • Labour law
  • Social Rights
  • fundamental rights
  • Austerity measures
  • European Social Charter (ESC)
  • Human Rights
  • European law
  • Court of Justice of the EU

Cite this