Social Policy USA

These rights look at the livelihood of the citizens in the European Union. The Social Charter was first introduced to Britain in 1997 and it helped citizens in all shape or forms to improve their daily lives. Competition Policy Competition policy is essential for the completion of the internal market. The raison d'i?? tre of the internal market is to allow firms to compete on a level playing field in all the Member States. Competition policy seeks to encourage economic efficiency by creating a climate favourable to innovation and technical progress.

It protects the interests of consumers by allowing them to buy goods and services under the best conditions. It also makes it possible to ensure that any anti-competitive practices by companies or national authorities do not hinder healthy competition. 1. OBJECTIVES OF COMPETITION POLICY EU competition policy must guarantee the unity of the internal market and avoid the monopolisation of certain markets by preventing firms from sharing the market via protective agreements.

Markets can come to be monopolised as a result of restrictive agreements or company mergers. It attempts to prevent one or more firms from properly exploiting their economic power over weaker firms (abuse of a dominant position). It must also prevent Member States' governments from distorting the rules by discriminating in favour of public enterprises or by giving aid to private-sector companies The Commission has wide investigative powers. It can carry out inspections on business premises without giving prior notice and can demand to see the necessary documents.

Before taking a decision, it gives the firms and Member States concerned the opportunity to explain their position at specially organised hearings. Firms or Member States, which are the subject of a Commission decision, may challenge the decision before the Court of First Instance and the Court of Justice in Luxembourg. It is also possible for individuals or firms that believe they are the victims of anti-competitive behaviour to take their case before the national courts.

In 1999, for example, following an appeal by ten European steel firms and their professional association Eurofer, the Court of First Instance essentially confirmed the Commission's decision imposing fines on them for price fixing, market sharing and the exchange of confidential information. In 1992 the Treaty of Maastricht was signed. The European Community changed its name to what we know as the European Union. This treaty states that: > To promote economic and social progress, which is balanced and sustainable > Strengthening of economic and social cohesion

> Establishing an economic and monetary union, which will lead to a single currency. This treaty helped many businesses as it created more money for these firms. Plans for a single currency were being laid down at this time, which when implemented means that their will be a fixed exchange rate system so businesses can plan ahead with what deals they want to make. The Social Chapter was also part of this treaty, which indicates equality for men and women. It has a great impact on the way businesses operate and the rights of their citizens.

The chapter involves the following issues: movement between countries, payment for employment, living and working conditions, state benefits, Trade Union membership, Training, Equality, Information, Consultation and participation at work and rights for the disabled. The movement between countries involves peoples being allowed to move from one country to another without any barriers. This means people are allowed to move from one country to another no matter if it is for work or for a holiday as immigration laws are not a difficult to get through. Payment for employment involves a minimum wage of i??

3.50 after the age of 18. This makes sure that employers do not take advantage of their employees. Women are also entitled to maternity pay while they are pregnant. Employees are also entitled to bonuses from their employers. Training allows all employees to learn and be educated in their field of work. This allows them to develop their skills. State benefits entitle people who are unemployed or disabled to receive money. This allows them to get by and get the necessities they need. A Trade Union membership allows workers to take industrial action if they fell their employers do not have their needs in mind.