Freedom of movement with many obstacles
Improvements are needed for mobile workers in the EU.
KL – 04/2021
In the European Parliament’s committee on
Employment and Social Affairs, an unsolicited report was presented and discussed by MEP Radan
Kanev (EPP/BG) on March 29, 2021. It addresses the impact of EU regulations
covering the free movement of workers and services.
The report was commissioned before the
coronavirus pandemic and focuses on the working conditions of mobile workers in
the EU. The focus is on migrant, seasonal, posted and cross-border workers. The
report also addresses bureaucratic and legal obstacles for service providers,
professionals and small or medium-sized enterprises operating in more than one
EU member states.
The European Parliament pointed to a set of
deficiencies, which hinder the free movement of workers in the EU and this
existed even before the coronavirus pandemic. The following points were made:
- a lack of harmonised legislation at EU level
- the perceived reluctance to exercise the shared competences of
the EU institutions in the labour and social security legislation sectors
- the limited competences of the European Labour Authority (ELA),
including the lack of defined future activities
- frequent and systematic abuses of workers'
rights, especially in the case of mobile workers.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic
were also included in the unsolicited report because difficult and partly
inadequate working conditions for cross-border, seasonal and posted workers
became especially evident during the pandemic. Examples include workers in
slaughterhouses and seasonal workers who were either denied access to their
jobs or stranded abroad in an isolated and destitute state without social
Another key problem identified in the
report is the lack of coordination of social security systems during the
pandemic. Some of the bilateral agreements concluded in this respect are
generally inadequate. It also encourages greater digitisation of applications
and procedures for the various national systems.
The European Parliament adopted the
unsolicited report together with a motion for a resolution. This also provided
a catalogue of specific demands to both the member states and the EC. The
demands cover a wide range of issues such as compliance with and implementation
of the Posting of Workers Directive, equal pay for equal work and ensuring a
level playing field for companies. Member states should also coordinate efforts
to extend social security coverage.
The EC was also asked to examine and
analyse negative developments regarding labour mobility. Other requests concern
the improving the functioning of the ELA and its evaluation. Digitisation
should also be promoted and further strategies and measures are to be developed
for the occupational health and safety of employees.