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Interests or principles? EU foreign policy in the ILO


  • Marianne Riddervold


This paper seeks to contribute to the debate about the role of norms in EU foreign policy by looking at EU policies in the International Labour Organization (ILO) in the making of a Consolidated Maritime Labour Convention (ILOMLC). Given the economic importance of shipping for many EU members, one would expect the EU to promote its economic interests in the ILO. However, the EU is instead described as a human rights promoter and has had positions on the ILOMC that following common EU implementation will increase costs for both ship-owners and national administrations. How can this be? I seek to answer by examining the reasons that have mobilized the EU actors to agree to the common EU policies conducted. A distinction is made between three ideal-types of reasons; pragmatic, ethical-political and moral reasons. By applying a framework that separates between different types of norms, I provide a more nuanced picture of the argument that norms influence EU policies. I conclude that moral reasons, supporting a thesis that a concern for establishing international law for the protection of human rights, have been particularly important in mobilizing the EU to promote a Convention of high standards despite of its costs.

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  • Marianne Riddervold, 2008. "Interests or principles? EU foreign policy in the ILO," RECON Online Working Papers Series 9, RECON.
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:reconx:p0028

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    fundamental/human rights; ILO; legitimacy; national interest; policy coordination;

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