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Occupational Accidents from an EU Perspective: Is There a Place for the Principle of Freedom of Choice?

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It is evident that one of the most crucial issues concerning the future of European integration is that between social rights and market freedoms. This article is aimed at investigating whether, within a EU law perspective, there exists a legal basis on which the introduction of the freedom of choice as a ruling principle could be founded within the highly sensitive sector of social protection and occupational accidents. In order to answer this question, this article will focus on two aspects of the subject matter. The first concerns the ‘reality and myth’ of the potential of EU competition law to interfere with Member States’ competence in organising their social security systems, particularly as it relates to occupational accidents. The second, the question of health and safety, which at present appears to be an EU Commission priority, may provide a useful starting point in order to avoid a partisan answer to our question. The conclusion is that the potential of EU competition law to interfere is a reality, and not a myth, and the health and safety issue appears to be a crucial element in excluding a pure market model based on the freedom of choice.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1Professor of Labour Law and Social Security Law at the Law Faculty of the University of Cassino—Italy

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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