EU level

On the basis of the comparative and transdisciplinary analysis, the final objective of the SHARE project was to conduct an in-depth European study on how the solo self-employed are measured, classified and represented. Comparing contrasting cases shed light on trends moving in the same direction, as well as on those that are diverging, in continental and Southern Europe. Differentiation, in particular, is rooted in national histories, diverse socioeconomic and political phenomena at multiple institutional scales, as well as in interactions among individual and collective actors. It also derives from corporate doctrines, such as flexibility and the ideology of individualism and competitiveness, as well as the ideology of sharing and cooperation.

In this phase of the project, the main European labour force surveys (e.g., the EU Labour Force Survey, including the 2017 ad-hoc module on self-employment, and the European Working Conditions Survey) were analysed, and a new classification for the solo self-employed was proposed on the basis of the research results obtained through the transdisciplinary analysis. Moreover, European Union laws were critically discussed on the basis of both the national law cases and the results obtained by the analysis of national surveys, as well as the multi-sited, cross-national ethnographic study. In the final phase of the project, two documents developed by the European Commission were also analysed: the Guidelines on the application of Union competition law to collective agreements regarding the working conditions of solo self-employed persons and the Directive on platform work.

Finally, the practices of organising of self-employed associations, trade unions, grassroots groups, and cooperatives at the European level were also analysed. In particular, the following organisations were contacted: (i) the European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP), which at the time of the fieldwork had evolved into a network of different collective actors organising the European Freelancers Week; (ii) the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and its most active members in the policymaking processes analysed (FIA, EFFATT, ETF, and Uni Europe), as well as the global union Uni Global, mainly focused on the service economy; (iii) the coalition of platform workers grassroots unions and activist groups organised in the Transnational Federation of Couriers and the International Transport Workers Federation; (iv) the European confederation of industrial and service cooperatives (CECOP). Therefore, in addition to the scientific return of research findings, the SHARE project also discussed its results with collective actors and policymakers, with the objective to develop a novel approach to the emergent and hybrid areas of work with both theoretical and applied relevance.