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Department of Law

Law theses of the month: Marc Steiert

In the 'Theses of the Month' series, the EUI Law Department presents the remarkable work of its researchers and their impactful contributions to the field of law. This month, the Department features Marc Steiert who defended his thesis on 13 May under the supervision of Professor Claire Kilpatrick.

21 May 2024 | Research

Marc Steiert_law theses of the mont

Marc Steiert, a researcher specialising in European Union (EU) labour and social law, comes from Freiburg, Germany, a region near the French and Swiss borders. This unique geographical position sparked his interest in cross-border exchanges and EU integration. Marc began his academic journey at Sciences Po Paris' campus in Nancy, France, where he pursued a multidisciplinary Bachelor's degree. He continued his studies at the Law School of Sciences Po Paris, delving into EU law and labour/social law.

His dissertation titled Youth Transitions and EU Integration: Paths to an EU Regulatory Fabric for Youth Employment analyses the regulation of youth employment in and by the EU, exploring the intricate legal and policy frameworks governing young people's transitions into the workforce. More broadly, his research interests lie at the intersection of EU law, labour law and social law, and regulatory and governance theory. He is also keenly interested in the EU’s economic governance and the protection of fundamental rights, in particular at the EU level. Notably, he co-edited the first volume bringing together all preparatory works of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

His thesis reveals that since 1957, the EU has endeavoured to regulate youth employment through three threads: young people’s geographical mobility, their working conditions and work relations (youth employment law), and instruments aimed at their integration into the labour market (youth employment policy). Marc traces the threads’ interactions, identifying broader governance arrangements for youth employment regulation, which bring the EU's regulatory instruments together in common mechanisms or for the pursuit of shared normative objectives. However, he notes that this regulatory fabric is reversible and subject to change. He also examines the Europeanisation of youth employment regulation, highlighting the capacity of EU governance arrangements to orient and de facto change domestic youth employment regulation, showing a general yet reversible trend toward aligning national regulations with EU standards. Normatively, Marc proposes that youth employment regulation should not only focus on work transitions as a period of individual responsibility but should also accompany this aspect of personal development with an inclusive starting point of labour regulation. Moreover, the regulation of work transitions should focus on public and private actors' roles in mitigating the challenges young people face during work transitions, enforcing young people's work-related rights and supporting their agency in the regulatory process.

Based on his findings, Marc recommends several steps to enhance EU youth employment regulation. These include proposals for concrete legal bases for EU action, such as EU regulation of young people’s many work relations under Article 153 TFEU, or a renewal of EU youth employment policy. He also calls for closing gaps in EU youth employment regulation, such as weak enforcement of spending conditionality on youth employment policy or derogations from EU labour law on non-standard work for young workers, and argues for binding EU regulation that ensures quality traineeships. Beyond this argument, Marc's dissertation recalibrates the discussion of EU (social) integration in four ways. First, it fills a gap in the literature by providing the first comprehensive account of EU youth employment regulation, an underexplored area. Second, by examining the evolving contours of youth employment regulation, he challenges the existing incremental timeline of EU integration, suggesting that alternative trajectories could fundamentally reshape EU social policy. Third, his research contributes to foundational debates on labour regulation, addressing issues like work classification, access to labour rights, labour market flexibilisation, the rise of precarious work, and the role of employment policy in reshaping labour law. Fourth, Marc is interested in the effects of normative changes on young people's work transitions and vice versa, providing a framework against which youth employment regulation may be assessed and contested, as ultimately, democratic decision-makers should decide upon its shape.

Marc's interest in youth employment regulation was profoundly influenced by the euro-crisis/sovereign debt crisis of the 2010s, during which youth unemployment and job insecurity became pressing political issues. This period of economic upheaval inspired him to investigate the legal and regulatory roots of these challenges. Looking ahead, he will work on the project 'ShaPE – The Social Partners as Makers and Shapers of Social Europe: Discovering Foundations and Futures' as a research associate, focusing on examining how the 1992 Maastricht Treaty empowered social partners to regulate collectively at the EU level.

Last update: 21 May 2024

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