In the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights, the European Commission presented in September 2017 its intention to create a new European agency, the European Labour Authority (ELA). Its purpose should be to provide information to citizens and businesses on jobs, apprenticeships, mobility schemes, recruitment and training, as well as guidance on rights and obligations to live, work and/or operate in another Member State of the EU. The Authority is also intended to support cooperation between national authorities in cross-border situations, by helping them ensure that the EU rules that regulate mobility are easily and effectively followed. Finally, the European Labour Authority should provide mediation and facilitate solutions in case of cross-border disputes.
The European Commission intends for the EU labour authority to be up and running in 2019 and the regulation proposal which constitutes its legal basis is presently being discussed by the Council and European Parliament. The Council adopted its general approach, proposing to reinforce the control of the Member States over the different new procedures established by the ELA, including mediation processes and the initiation of joint labour inspections between the authorities of two or more Member States.
To facilitate the establishment of the Authority, the Commission set up an advisory group composed of key stakeholders to investigate the practical aspects of the future functioning of the Authority. CEEP together with the European cross-industry social partners were invited as observers to contribute to the development of a set of recommendation to ensure the rolling out of the ELA. Beyond the development of these recommendations, the Working group also provides the opportunity to exchange best practices between Member States on resolving cross-border situations and assessing the potential weaknesses of already existing tools.
During the last sessions of this working group held on the 17 and 18 December 2018, Member States agreed on some key recommendations to be implemented in the framework of the ELA’s procedures aimed at precising the practical tasks to be attributed to the ELA, both for the exchange of information and the organisation of cross-border inspections and providing additional guarantees for the subsidiarity of the procedure. Specific recommendations included:
- ELA should first and foremost support the mutual understanding of national rules and address the issue of differing legal frameworks in which inspections are taking place;
- ELA could act as an information hub, strengthening the information flow between Member States;
- ELA’s role is expected to be one of back-office coordination of operations, e.g. through arranging contacts, the definition of clear procedures, the organisation of translation/interpretation services, and the provision of secured data exchange channels.
- Member States will ultimately decide on possible changes of their legislation to allow for the participation of non-national inspectors in inspections and ensure the usability of inspections results for legal proceedings on national level;
- The ELA should work closely with social partners for collecting, validating and disseminating information and examples of existing practices, in a way which takes account of their capacity to undertake such tasks.
Several meetings of the Working Group are scheduled in the lead-up to the creation of the Agency in 2019. Social partners will also be invited to join the next sessions, on 27 and 28 February, where a key focus will be put on capacity Building and labour market disruptions.