Labor Apartheid: the next frontier of social inequality and the role of European Union

Maria Fernanda Brandão, Master's degree student in EU Law at UMinho
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Guiding the reasoning by the dialectic theory, in the perspective of Hegel and Marx, it is possible to contemplate the history of humanity as an inexhaustible class struggle. The conflict between dominant and dominated groups is one of the main legacies of the human action throughout the time. Thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, this seems to be the endless plot of the path taken by man.

The perspective of what is a ruling class is modified routinely over the centuries. In the last two, the polarization have been between the owners of the productive ways and assets and the wage-earning workers, which is, by the way, the feature of the capitalism and its intrinsic contradiction and, despite the conflict, the existence of both classes is necessary for the maintenance of the economic system.

However, several social transformations that occurred throughout the 20th century created new outcast groups in need of society’s attention for its integration. This was the case of women, in the search for effective equality in terms of labor rights, or the disabled and ethnic minority groups, and their notorious difficulty in employability. The State’s action, in all these cases, has been affirmative policies, such as the setting of quotas, subsidies and social integration campaigns.

However, the fourth industrial revolution sheds new light into these issues since a significant portion of the existing jobs is currently at risk of extinction due to the extreme robotization associated with the existence of artificial intelligence (AI). What can be seen, therefore, is a complete change of paradigm that places individuals of the most diverse shades on the same losing side, concentrating people of different races, genders, ages, social strata and schooling in the same group, deepening the inequality that has only skyrocketed since the welfare state collapsed in most parts of the world. This is what we call labor apartheid, due to the profound segregation of human beings from work and consumption caused by their productive unavailability. Continue reading “Labor Apartheid: the next frontier of social inequality and the role of European Union”

The Impact of the Services Directive 2006/123/EC in Portugal and Spain and its effects on the Legaltech Industry

by Pedro Petiz, Master’s student in Law and Informatics at UMinho
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“Just think what Europe could be. Think of the innate strengths of our enlarged Union. Think of its untapped potential to create prosperity and offer opportunity and justice for all its citizens. Europe can be a beacon of economic, social and environmental progress to the rest of the world.”[i]

This auspicious introduction belongs to the Communication from the European Commission, “Working together for growth and jobs – A new start for the Lisbon Strategy”.

To reach Europe’s “untapped potential” for prosperity, the Lisbon Strategy aimed at the completion of the Single Market in the area of the energy, transport, public procurement, financial services, and in the area of regulated professions.[ii]

The Services Directive (2006/123/EC) played an important role in this objective, since it required Member States to take concrete legislative measures to abolish the restrictions on the freedom to provide services that were found as being unnecessary and disproportionate.[iii]

This also encompassed the rules on the liberal professions, such as fixed minimum or maximum tariffs [Article 15(2)(g)], restrictions on advertising (Article 24), and – most importantly – restrictions on multidisciplinary partnerships (Article 25).

Continue reading “The Impact of the Services Directive 2006/123/EC in Portugal and Spain and its effects on the Legaltech Industry”

Editorial of September 2020

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by Alessandra Silveira, Joana Abreu and Pedro M. Froufe, Editors and Jean Monnet Module eUjust Team


The German Presidency of the Council of the European Union – the European digital path in justice fields in times of COVID-19


On the 1st July 2020, the Federal Republic of Germany has received the task of holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union until the 31st December 2020, as this European Institution operates through a system of rotating presidency. This Member State will be closely working in a group of three – the so-called “trio” – which will also be composed by Portugal and Slovenia.  

Therefore, as the world is still struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, it is experiencing a “time of unprecedented crisis”, which has to be strongly addressed by this presidency and has to be perceived as its transversal priority so a more resilient European Union can emerge from this challenge.

Insofar, the motto of this Germany’s presidency is “Together for Europe’s recovery” since, as Chancellor Merkel underlined, “[w]e know that we can only master this extraordinary crisis in the best possible way if we work together”, “together” has to mean the engagement of governments, parliaments and citizens all across Europe.

Under the Programme for Germany’s presidency[i], “[o]nly by containing the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the long term, investing in Europe’s economy, fully exploiting our innovative potential and strengthening social cohesion can the European Union and its Member States overcome the crisis effectively and permanently”. As crisis were always doors that led to new opportunities in the European Union, this presidency believes there is a need to “focus [the] attention on the major transformation processes of our time such as climate change, digitalisation and the changing world of work”.

Continue reading “Editorial of September 2020”