Free movement of workers, freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services have led to a significant increase in the number of European citizens affected by the phenomenon of "mobility": according to the statistics, 17 million people currently live and work in a Member State other than the one of origin. Twice as many as the last decade.
The scale of the phenomenon has, on the one hand, made it necessary to draw up a body of legislation at European level to protect the rights of the workers concerned and guarantee them equal working conditions (these include Directives 2014/67/EU and 2018/957/EU on transnational posting and the legislation on the coordination of social security systems), on the other hand, they have raised the question of the effective and efficient application of these rules in the various European countries, which "requires structured cooperation and exchange between competent national authorities, as well as resources for common activities, such as organizing joint inspections or training national staff to deal with cross-border cases" 1 .
It is in this context that the European Commission has launched a series of proposals and initiatives aimed at fostering administrative cooperation between the competent authorities of the Member States and at facilitating the application of EU legislation. Among these:
- the development of the Internal Market Information System (IMI): an online, multilingual tool that facilitates the exchange of information between public authorities and mutual assistance on worker mobility; and
- the legislative proposal for the establishment of a European Labour Authority (ELA) with the aim of ensuring fair labour mobility in the internal market of the European Union.
The legislative process for the establishment of this new body has now reached a decisive point: on 14 February 2019 the Council and the European Parliament have reached an agreement (albeit provisional) on the text of the European Regulation that will govern its structure and functions.
In the light of this agreement, the activities of the European Labour Authority will cover the rules on the posting of workers, the coordination of social security systems and the specific legislation for the road transport sector.
In particular, in order to facilitate the implementation of these rules, the new authority will be responsible for (i) supporting Member States in providing the workers and employers concerned with information on their mutual rights and obligations in cases of cross-border mobility, (ii) facilitating coordination and cooperation between Member States through the mutual exchange of information and joint inspections to prevent abuses, frauds and the practice of undeclared work, and (iii) acting as a mediator between Member States in cases of cross-border disputes.
Originally, the draft Regulation also provided for the possibility of intervention by the ELA, at the request of the Member States concerned, to address "labour market disruptions affecting more than one Member State, such as large-scale restructuring events or major projects impacting employment in border regions ". This possibility, however, does not seem to be recalled by the agreement reached between the Council and the European Parliament on 14 February and therefore its inclusion among the tasks of the Authority remains doubtful.
The agreement will now be submitted to the Permanent Representatives Committee (Coreper) for the necessary approval and will be subsequently submitted to the final vote of the European Parliament in plenary session.