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Publication - Dr Gregory Schwartz

    Labour Markets in the Wake of Ukraine’s Association with the EU: The Political Economy of a Combined and Uneven Union

    Citation

    Schwartz, G, 2016, ‘Labour Markets in the Wake of Ukraine’s Association with the EU: The Political Economy of a Combined and Uneven Union’.

    Abstract

    The EU-Ukraine Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) promises to lower the cost of EU goods and services in Ukraine, offer Ukrainian goods and services in the EU, and create jobs in a range of sectors in Ukraine. These factors together with the recent changes in the Labour, Tax and in Administrative-Territorial reforms, promise to have significant transformative effects on the labour market in Ukraine. But, the significance of DCFTA goes beyond offering Ukraine a framework for governing trade and the legal and regulatory aspects of business, setting in motion key socio-economic mechanisms to affect the future of the EU itself. Ukraine’s political revolution ostensibly acts as a reminder that the relative success of DCFTA will determine the feasibility of other EU reforms and act as a barometer of stability on EU’s eastern flank. What, however, is the measure of ‘success'? How do legal frameworks translate into social, economic and welfare changes? More importantly, which social processes are best suited as objects of study to understand the interconnection between the political economy and geography of Europe. The present paper answers these questions by charting the DCFTA’s effect on 1. labour market participation, 2. occupational structure, 3. types of economic activity, 4. the nature of work, and 5. the makeup of labour contracts. It assesses the manner in which Ukraine’s integration is re-defining the social foundations of the EU and Europe’s role in the global capitalist system. Based on a in-depth interviews with labour market actors in the western border Ukrainian region of Ľviv, the paper operationalises the different dimensions of ‘total social organisation of labour’ as a means of demonstrating the role of social processed in the re-spatialisation of Europe.

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