In recent years, there has been increased interest in the external relations of the European Union (EU) in the United Nations (UN) system, in general, and in the International Labour Organization (ILO) in particular. However, there are a number of different ways in which the relationship between the EU and the ILO can be analysed. One approach is to take their common interest in social and employment conditions as the departure point and analyse the ways in which the development of the fi rst pillar of the EU has led to spillover into the ILO. Following this route, there is a long history of incremental convergence, seen through letters of exchange between the EU and the ILO, and co-ordinated actions by the European Commission and the EU member states to implement ILO labour standards, set out most comprehensively in a number of recent works (Johnson 2005; Delarue 2006; see Chapters 1 and 5).