The article analyses the inter-relationships between the establishment and operation of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and the industrial relations system at national, cross-national and supranational level. It illustrates the main features of the macroeconomic regime brought about by EMU and identifies the pressures for change in industrial relations systems deriving from this new economic and institutional environment. Three phases are sketched in the adaptation process of industrial relations systems to EMU, which can be associated in different ways with the potential lines of evolution identified in the relevant literature (Americanization, Europeanization, and Renationalization). While developments in the 1990s and early 2000s could justify mildly optimistic views about the revival of social pacts and the emergence of some elements of Europeanization, the crisis and the strengthening of the EU economic governance, especially since 2011, have pushed clearly towards a weakening of industrial relations and a negative integration/Americanization scenario. However, recent initiatives of the Juncker Commission seem to enlarge the scope for political interpretation of the existing fiscal rules. Together with the expansionary monetary policy of the ECB, these novelties might open some room to industrial relations developments other than negative integration/Americanization. It remains to be seen whether this opportunity will be exploited at EU and national levels.
Keywords: Industrial relations; European Union; Economic and Monetary Union; Internal devaluation; Wage setting systems