Europe has the wind in its sails once more and this needs to be taken advantage of before the wind changes. This was the message from incumbent Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in his annual State of the Union Address on 13 September 2017. He has specific ideas of how to do this. For example, the incorporation of the European Labour Authority (ELA) to help to ensure transnational inspection in the Single Market (posting of workers).
What will be the responsibilities of the Authority?
The exact responsibilities of ELA still have to be finalised. In his speech, Juncker compared the Labour Authority to the Banking Authority, which monitors banking standards. As such, the Labour Authority will have a similar role in its own field.
In concrete terms, the ELA will build on existing resources such as EURES and PES to strengthen social security coordination and cross-border mobility for national administrations, businesses and mobile workers. Access to information for public authorities and mobile workers will also be improved. There is also the opportunity to discuss the possibility for the new authority to settle any disputes between national authorities from different Member States. In addition, the ELA could also be responsible for improving the management of cross-border and joint activities, such as health and safety at work.
Prior to publishing a European initiative, the Commission has launched a public consultation to collect public opinion on the issue of establishing an ELA and its specific responsibilities.
As part of the current consultation, the European Commission conducted a strategic dialogue meeting on the European Labour Authority on 15 December. This round table allowed stakeholders to exchange initial ideas and thoughts.
The European Commission has found that there is only fragmented, ineffective or zero cooperation between national authorities and cross-border authorities in the Member States. In addition, cooperation agreements between the Member States are lacking and there is little exchange of information between authorities.
The challenge now is to make EU regulations easier and more effective for everyone.
Interested parties have until 7 January 2018 to submit a contribution to the public consultation. After evaluating the responses and conducting an impact assessment, the Commission would like to present a concrete proposal by 7 March 2018.