European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Policy Briefs

ETUI policy briefs provide a short, critical and policy-oriented analysis or evaluation of topical issues which are of interest to the labour movement in Europe. They are intended for a non-specialist audience, including practitioners and trade unions at the national level as well as European-level decision-makers, think tanks and NGOs.

There are two types of policy briefs.

The ‘policy recommendations’ type: this type either develops specific policy recommendations or demonstrates why an EU policy (proposal) is undesirable in its current form. This is done through logical reasoning or presenting relevant data evidence and research, or both. The policy recommendations are summarised at the beginning of the document in the ‘Policy recommendations’ box.

The ‘key points’ type: this type either summarises recently published research or provides an overview of data which is of direct relevance to practitioners and policymakers. The main points are summarised at the beginning of the document in the ‘Key points’ box.

We welcome both comments on and proposals for policy briefs. Policy briefs should be no longer than 3,500 words, but preferably 2,500 words or less (including a maximum of 10 references).

Covid-19 contact-tracing apps: how to prevent privacy from becoming the next victim

Aída Ponce Del Castillo (ETUI)


Contact-tracing apps to combat the Covid-19 pandemic have increasingly been mentioned as useful tools to accompany and contribute to a return to normality despite the many ethical and legal questions they raise. What started as a public health crisis morphed into an economic crisis and we are now faced with a ‘trick-or-treat’ choice: accept to ‘pay the price’ and use invasive tracing apps, and by so doing facilitate a gradual reopening of business, or fight for privacy and delay the return to normality. This policy brief offers new arguments to reject this binary choice.

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Are European Works Councils ready for Brexit? An inside look

Stan De Spiegelaere and Romuald Jagodzinski


One of the many areas that will likely be directly affected by Brexit with regard to workers’ rights is the organisation and functioning of European Works Councils (EWCs).This policy brief shows that Brexit will have an immediate effect on about 14% of all EWCs because they are based on UK national law.

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Ensuring fair Short-Time Work - a European overview

Torsten Müller and Thorsten Schulten

cover short time work

Based on a comparison of the different short-time work schemes in Europe, this policy brief identifies some criteria for fair short-time work which enables workers not only to retain their job, but also to live a decent life.

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Sickness benefits in the EU: making sense of diversity

Slavina Spasova, Denis Bouget, Chiara Belletti and Bart Vanhercke


One of the hallmarks of the European Union (EU) Member States’ social protection systems, unlike that of other regions in the world, is the right to income protection in case of sickness. To differing extents, all EU countries provide three types of arrangements in case of sickness: a) sick leave; b) sick pay; and c) sickness benefits.

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Ending regulatory avoidance through the use of letterbox companies

Katrin McGauran


Letterbox companies are legal entities set up by businesses to benefit from a regulatory framework in a jurisdiction in which they have little or no material operations. They enable ‘regime shopping’ for lower taxes, wages, labour standards and social contributions, as well as for different legal rights under bilateral treaties. According to research commissioned by the European Parliament, a conservative estimate of the costs to the EU of corporate tax avoidance alone is €50-70 billion annually.

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  • 'Green growth' is called into question

    Thomas Coutrot (Attac France) and Jean Gadrey (University Lille 1)

    In this Policy Brief the authors put in question the possibility, generally accepted without justification or context, of pursuing growth while respecting ‘vital’ constraints of the environment. Instead, they argue, there are credible alternative ‘post-growth’ strategies, aimed at ‘sustainable prosperity without growth’, which might be more conducive to employment and equality than the current ‘productivist’ trajectory.