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Labour Relations – EU Law and the Critique of Capitalism Webinar

5:30pm - 7:00pm / Thursday 11th March 2021
Type: Webinar / Category: Research
  • Admission: Free online event, please register for zoom details.
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This seminar series draws together a range of scholars engaged in critical analysis of EU law. It focuses on critical political economy approaches to the EU, recognising that such inter-disciplinarity is necessary to understand the intersections between law, politics, and economy. The speakers in the series engage with a wide range of critical theory and political economy (Marx, Polanyi, Fraser, Streeck, Brown etc.).

The series takes inspiration from the growth in political economy approaches beyond EU scholarship. From the “turn to political economy” in international law to the growing LPE movement in the USA, such approaches are inspiring a new group of active critical scholars. This seminar series aims to serve as a springboard for a new network of critical and radical scholars seeking to challenge the orthodoxies of EU scholarship.

Please see the below details for the second participant of the series;

Labour Relations – EU Law and the Critique of Capitalism Webinar

Maria Tzanakopoulou

Maria is a lecturer at the School of Law, Birkbeck. She studied law in Athens (National and Kapodistrian University) and London (UCL) during which time she also became a member of the Athens Bar Association. She has previously taught European Law and Human Rights Law at King’s College London and University College London. Maria specialises in Public Law and European Public Law and has published mainly in the area of constitutional law and constitutionalism in the state and beyond.


“EU labour law” is an odd term. If looked at from a technical/narrow point of view, the term does not denote much more than a selective regulation of bits and pieces of the labour relation. In the absence of exclusive competence over wages and collective rights, it is hard to fathom out the “labour” aspect of EU labour law, let alone interpret it in Marxist terms. Only when situated within the larger context of the Union’s treatment of relations of production does the term start to make sense. Here, one is confronted with a holistic attack against forces of production, even if sometimes sugar-coated with adjustments or modifications.
If we now agree that any Marxist discussion worthy of the name is compelled to have liberation and emancipation on its horizon, we are confronted with a difficult question. That is, if the EU is the oppressor, the dominating force of working classes, which is the counterforce? This seminar will seek to explore answers by navigating traditional Marxist responses but also the ‘heretics’ of the Italian Operaismo movement of the 60’s and 70’s.