Until the late 1970s, international labour law was made up almost exclusively of ILO standards. While this is still so in many countries, it is no longer the case in the European region, because European Community (EC) law in the field of labour and employment nowadays has a significant bearing on the shaping of domestic law in the 27 European Union Member States1 and beyond. EC law is also relevant for three of the four European Free Trade Area (EFTA) members that have agreed to set up the European Economic Area (EEA)2 with the EU. It is also widely used by several other States in Europe, who — though not EU Members — refer to the acquis communautaire when they review and revise their domestic law, including labour law. This is certainly the case for EU candidate countries Croatia, Turkey and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, as well as for Albania, both entities of BosniaHerzegovina,3 Montenegro and Serbia, whose labour laws draw inspiration from EC law in many respects. Therefore, when one talks about international labour law, it is now essential to give due consideration to international legislation and overall social and labour policies adopted within the framework of the European Union (see box 6.1), as well as to ILO standards. It is equally indispensable to be acquainted with an increasingly important number of landmark decisions by the European Court of Justice (ECJ).
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