EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union

The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) came into force on 1 December 2009 following the ratification of the Treaty of Lisbon, which made amendments to the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC). The TFEU is an amended and renamed version of the TEC. The TFEU includes enhancements to the social dimension of the European Union. It adds the non-discrimination principle (Article 10 TFEU) and equality between women and men ( Article 8 TFEU) to the values of the European Union.

The so-called ‘horizontal’ social clause (Article 9 TFEU) stipulates that all European Union policies must take into account social requirements and so guarantee that the various policies and actions of the Union are coherent. Article 9 TFEU contains an obligation to meet the requirements of promoting a high level of employment, of guaranteeing adequate social protection, of combating social exclusion and of ensuring a high level of education, training and protection of human health.

The TFEU renumbers the articles of the TEC. The Employment Title of the TFEU is Title IX, comprising Articles 145 to 150 (formerly Articles 125 to 130 of the TEC). The Social Policy Title of the TFEU is Title X, comprising Articles 151 to 161 (formerly Articles 136 to 145 of the TEC). This is a mainly a recoding exercise and only minor changes to the substance of these Articles were made, for example:

  • Under Article 152 TFEU, promotion of social dialogue is now an objective of the Union and not of the Commission only;
  • Article 152 TFEU also institutionalises the Tripartite Social Summit, stating that it shall contribute to social dialogue; and
  • Under Article 155 (2) TFEU, the European Parliament shall be informed of the implementation of agreements concluded between the social partners at EU level under Article 155.

See also: competences of the European Union; Economic and Monetary Union; EU law; opt-out; social competences; Social Policy Protocol; subsidiarity; Treaty of Amsterdam; Treaty of Nice; Treaty of Maastricht; treaty provisions; working conditions.


Please note: the European industrial relations dictionary is updated annually. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.


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