European Labour Authority to oversee mobility

European Labour Authority
© iStock/Thissatan

The European Parliament, Council and Commission have provisionally approved the establishment of a European Labour Authority to simplify the mobility of workers between Member States.

Around 17 million EU citizens live or work in another Member State, a 100 per cent increase since 2009; necessitating the implementation over the last decade of a swathe of legislation protecting workers’ rights and streamlining the process of cross-border travel. For these rules to be enforced effectively and consistently, Member States must cooperate and coordinate to share resources, conduct joint inspections and train staff to address cases spanning multiple countries; and the European Labour Authority has been designed to address these needs.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, who first proposed the creation of a European Labour Authority in his 2017 State of the Union address, said: “With the European Pillar of Social Rights, we anchored a strong social dimension in the future of the European Union. Today we take another big step forward in delivering on our commitment for a more social Europe. With 17 million Europeans today living or working in another EU Member State, it is high time for a European Labour Authority to support our mobile citizens, facilitate the work of our Member States and ensure fairness and trust in our Single Market. We have made a lot of progress on fairer rules for labour mobility in recent years. The new Authority will help us to make them work in practice.”

The responsibilities of the European Labour Authority will include:

  • Aiding Member States to keep citizens and businesses informed;
  • Streamlining international cooperation and information exchanges between Member States;
  • Supporting national authorities in conducting joint inspections to combat fraud, undeclared work and other abuses of the system; and
  • Mediating between Member States where disputes occur.

Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said: “I have always said that we need clear, fair and enforceable rules on labour mobility. Today’s agreement on the European Labour Authority is the cherry on the cake of a fair European labour market. It will serve the double mission of helping national authorities fight fraud and abuse and making mobility easy for citizens. Today’s agreement is the result of very constructive and speedy negotiations showing that Europe can decide and act swiftly to address problems…this agreement should now be confirmed quickly to ensure that the European Labour Authority can start working this year and be fully operational rapidly. This is a crucial step for a more social and fair Europe.”

The proposal agreed on by the Parliament, Commission and Council will now be passed to the Permanent Representatives Committee for approval, after which it will be put to a final vote in the plenary session of the European Parliament.

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