This provision reflects the ambivalence of harmonisation in EU social policy. Harmonisation is put forward as an objective to be made possible. However, it appears that harmonisation is to ensue as the passive result of the functioning of the common market, which favours harmonisation. The active use of procedures in the Treaty and approximation of laws is less clearly to be the instrument of harmonisation. In other words, as originally envisaged, harmonisation is a market process, not a legal process.

This reflects another ambivalence inherent in the concept of harmonisation: whether harmonisation of laws or harmonisation of substantive conditions is at issue. The harmonisation of laws does not necessarily imply the harmonisation of substantive conditions. Put differently, if harmonisation of conditions is aimed at, then different laws may be required. This is the result of a combination of two factors.

via Harmonisation.

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