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European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery]

Commissioner Thyssen's speech on the Commission decision to maintain its proposal for a revision of the Posting of Workers Directive

Brussels, 20 July 2016

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me announce to you without further ado that today the Commission has decided to maintain its proposal for a revision of the Posting of Workers Directive.

The Commission has made it a priority to promote a deeper and fairer internal market. The European social market economy is the best model to combine competitiveness, growth and social progress. In order to secure and maintain the confidence and trust of our citizens in this model, we must ensure that the rules are fair. In this context, the Commission made a proposal on 8 March to revise the 1996 Posting of Workers Directive.

I firmly believe this is a balanced proposal which in essence proposes to apply the same rules on remuneration for the same work at the same location. No more, no less. Posted workers are not second class workers – their work deserves to be fully valorised.

As you know, we have received Reasoned Opinions from national Parliaments in 11 Member States, triggering the subsidiarity control mechanism. Most of them raised concerns that the Commission's proposal to revise the Directive went too far, and that posting should be regarded as a national issue. I firmly believe that constructive dialogue with national parliaments is crucial. I am therefore very grateful for their active involvement.

We have carefully analysed all arguments put forward by these Parliaments and discussed them – both within the Commission and with representatives of the parliaments. We also looked at written opinions from national Parliaments in 5 other Member States which did not consider the proposal incompatible with the subsidiarity principle. All things considered we conclude that the proposal fully complies with the principle of subsidiarity.

Posting of workers is a cross-border issue by nature. Any posting activity has effects in at least two Member States. The rules on posting necessarily create rights and obligations between persons in different Member States – that is, between an employer in the Member State of origin and a worker who temporarily resides in another Member State. Individual action by national governments would fragment the internal market – the opposite of what we want to achieve. Therefore, the rules are best set at Union level. And this, by the way, is not new, we have European rules on posting in place since about 20 years.

Let me make very clear again that our proposal does not interfere with Member State competences on wage setting. We simply propose that what applies to locals, also applies to posted workers.

Neither do we create more red tape. The proposal does not foresee any additional administrative requirements.

But, the internal market is not, and has never been, a market without rules. It is an organised market with rules to ensure a level playing field for workers and businesses.

Some other questions of a more political nature were raised. While these concerns are important, they go beyond issues of subsidiarity. We will address these concerns when we send individual replies to each of the national Parliaments, starting from today.

It is my political conviction that labour mobility is good for Europe. But we need to make sure that the rules are fair for everyone. This is the aim of our proposal.

I look forward to the upcoming exchange of views with the European Parliament and Council to make further progress with this proposal.

At the same time I remain open to further reflect on the political points raised by the national Parliaments that go beyond subsidiarity and continue political dialogue with them in the course of the legislative process.

Thank you for your attention.


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