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European Commission - Press release

Legal migration: Commission refers Belgium to the Court of Justice for failing to provide common rules for non-EU seasonal workers

Brussels, 19 July 2018

The European Commission decided today to refer Belgium to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) for failing to fully implement the Seasonal Workers Directive (Directive 2014/36/EU).

The Directive determines the conditions of entry and stay of non-EU seasonal workers and defines the rights of those seasonal workers. Belgium, having failed to meet the initial transposition deadline of 30 September 2016, has still not fully implemented the Directive.

The Seasonal Workers Directive sets out the conditions that Member States should apply when deciding to grant access to their labour markets to non-EU citizens wishing to work in an EU Member State as seasonal workers for short periods (up to nine months), often in agriculture and tourism. It ensures that these workers are treated in the same way as national workers with regard to a number of important factors such as working conditions, pay, health and safety, social security, and it provides safeguards that protect them from exploitation.

Member States were required to fully transpose the Directive by 30 September 2016. By that date, Belgium had only partially transposed the new rules. The Commission sent a letter of formal notice to Belgium in November 2016 and, subsequently, a reasoned opinion in July 2017. To date, Belgium has still not notified the Commission of the full transposition of the Directive into its national law. The Commission has, therefore, decided to refer the case to the Court of Justice of the EU.

In referring Belgium to the Court of Justice of the EU, the Commission proposes a daily penalty of € 49,906.50. The amount of the penalty has been calculated taking into account the seriousness, the duration of the infringement and the deterrent effect reflected in the ability to pay of the Member State.

Next Steps

In the event the transposition remains incomplete and the CJEU confirms the Commission's view, the daily penalty would have to be paid from the date of the judgment or a later date set by the Court until the transposition is complete. The final amount of the daily penalty will be decided by the Court, but cannot exceed the Commission's proposal.


The Commission has been closely monitoring progress made by Member States regarding the implementation of the Seasonal Workers Directive (Directive 2014/36/EU) into their national legislation. Overall, 20 Member States have received a letter of formal notice for failing to fully transpose the Directive by the prescribed deadline. To date, seven of those infringements have been closed. In addition, the Commission decided today to close the infringement procedures against Lithuania and Finland. As regards the infringement cases against the remaining 10 Member States, the Commission received notification of transposition measures and is now assessing their completeness.

Under the Treaty of Lisbon, which entered into force on 1 December 2009, if Member States fail to transpose EU legislation into national law within the required deadline, the Commission may ask the Court to impose financial sanctions. The daily penalty payment is calculated based on a formula, where the following elements are multiplied:

  • seriousness factor;
  • duration of the infringement;
  • "n" factor (which varies between Member States and takes into account their GDP);
  • a flat-rate amount, which currently is set at €700 per day.

For More Information

- On the monitoring the EU law in the area of migration and home affairs.

- On the key decisions in the July 2018 infringements package, see full MEMO/18/4486.

- On the general infringements procedure, see MEMO/12/12.

- On the EU infringements procedure.


Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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