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Streda, 18. apríla 2012 - Štrasburg Revidované vydanie

4. Hodina otázok (pre Komisiu)
Videozáznamy z vystúpení
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  President. − The next item is Question Time and the topic is employment rights in a Europe of open borders. I will interpret this as widely as possible, but I should warn you that if your question is completely off topic you will be cut off. I shall just remind you of the rules. Questions are taken exclusively on a catch-the-eye basis. Each Member has one minute to put his or her question and 30 seconds to put a supplementary. The Commission has two minutes to reply if only one Commissioner is to be responsible for answering. If more than one Commissioner is to reply, each Commissioner has one minute’s speaking time. Our experience, broadly speaking, is that we get through about 19 questions. We are, as you know, reviewing the new format of Question Time and I welcome any suggestions.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE). - Monsieur le Commissaire, six mois plus tôt, ici même, nous avons eu un débat sur la vague de licenciement en Europe sous l'effet de la crise économique, en particulier chez Arcelor, multinationale présente dans neuf États membres européens et qui restructure en Europe son outil de production face à une demande d'acier en berne.

Depuis l'arrêt de deux hauts-fourneaux en Belgique, au Luxembourg, et la mise en veille d'un haut-fourneau en France, on estime pour l'année 2012 que près de 6 000 emplois directs seraient menacés. Au-delà des pratiques inacceptables, comme le stop and go – pratique qu'il faudrait pouvoir mieux encadrer –, c'est les questions plus globales de la sidérurgie européenne et de l'adaptation au changement qui attendent des réponses extrêmement urgentes.

Il y a six mois, la Commission nous a annoncé la nécessité de mener, à la lumière de la crise économique, un nouvel exercice de consultation pour une gestion responsable des restructurations avec les partenaires sociaux et les autorités publiques.

Ma question est simple: six mois plus tard, où en sommes-nous?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − In January the Commission launched a green paper on restructuring and I believe this is a very important debate. This discussion has a certain history, with strong involvement by the social partners – the trade unions and, on the other side, the employers having strong views – especially because in the crisis period there have been heavy implications as a result of corporate relocations inside Europe, but also from Europe to other continents. The example that was mentioned – Arcelor Mittal – has indeed experienced great job losses in the recent period, including in Belgium, as we discussed some months ago in this Chamber.

I think such examples provide lessons for how to develop this discussion. In this phase the Commission is summarising the answers. We received more than 100 answers in this two-month consultation period. There was a reference in the forthcoming employment package to the continuing work on restructuring and we will soon – after evaluating these summaries – decide on what the next follow-up should be.

We will, of course, coordinate with the social partners about this decision, but let me just finally mention that there is also an important financial implication because in such situations the governments can request the Globalisation Adjustment Fund if the conditions apply. I believe that has to be taken into account when the Parliament discusses the future of the Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

 
  
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  Anne Delvaux (PPE). - Monsieur le Commissaire, j'insiste sur l'urgence de ce débat parce que plus de 250 000 travailleurs sont employés directement par les industries métallurgiques, 370 000 le sont par l'industrie sidérurgique et je pense aussi qu'il faut avoir une vision d'avenir pour un projet sidérurgique qui permette, non seulement de soutenir les investissements économiques mais aussi les travailleurs et leur droit à la sécurité de l'emploi.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, the broader picture of the future of the steel industry and, more generally, of industrial manufacturing in Europe is, of course, primarily the responsibility of Vice-President Antonio Tajani. However, we do work together in view of the implications for jobs.

I think that it is with good reason that industrial policy is one of the flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy, and we have to take this very seriously. I fully agree with you.

 
  
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  Evelyn Regner (S&D). - Herr Präsident! Ich beobachte die Rechtsprechung des Europäischen Gerichtshofes genau. Schon in der Vergangenheit hat der Gerichtshof einige nationale Kontrollmaßnahmen schrittweise ausgehöhlt und als mit der Dienstleistungsfreiheit unvereinbar erklärt.

Jetzt legt die neue Durchsetzungsrichtlinie Kontrollmaßnahmen fest, über die die Mitgliedstaaten nicht hinausgehen dürfen. Mindestanforderungen werden also maximale Anforderungen. Ich nenne nur zwei Beispiele: Die Übersetzung der Dokumente soll nur dann erfolgen, wenn sie nicht übermäßig lang sind, oder Mitgliedstaaten müssen sicherstellen, dass die Formalitäten von den Entsendungsunternehmen möglichst einfach zu erfüllen sind. Österreich hat ein sehr effizientes, sehr gutes Gesetz zur Bekämpfung von Lohn- und Sozialdumping eingeführt. Sind jetzt solche Maßnahmen, die tatsächlich geeignet sind, Lohn- und Sozialdumping zu bekämpfen, durch die neue Durchsetzungsrichtlinie, die zwar gut gemeint ist, aber unter Umständen eben nur gut gemeint und nicht tatsächlich gut ist, gefährdet?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The issue of social rights and social dumping has been mentioned in a question. I have been at the centre of discussions on the posting of workers, especially following a few famous Court rulings in this area. This is why the Commission wanted to address this problem through various proposals, but particularly as part of the posting of workers package amounting to a regulation. If adopted, it will help to address such situations in the future.

I should say again that we have discussed the structure and the content of this proposal with all the stakeholders over the past two years, and we have said on these occasions that the Commission will not reverse the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice, but rather that it will do as much as possible to prevent similar conflicts from occurring in the future. In the event that such conflicts do occur, it will facilitate a much faster solution. We take a practical view of this problem as opposed to various ideological approaches, and I think that the document which we adopted in March delivers much to improve the situation in a very concrete way on the ground.

 
  
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  Evelyn Regner (S&D). - Ich möchte noch eine praktische Frage an Sie richten und ein konkretes Beispiel ansprechen, wo die Kontrollbehörden an ihre Grenzen stoßen.

Es gibt Fälle, in denen der ausgewiesene Lohn zwar 40 Stunden Arbeitszeit entspricht. Tatsächlich arbeiten entsendete Arbeitnehmer 50-60 Stunden oder mehr. Das ist nicht unüblich, weil insbesondere entsendete Bauarbeiter relativ wenig Interesse an Freizeit während der Entsendungen haben und möglichst en bloc ihre Arbeitszeit abwickeln möchten. Das heißt, die tatsächliche Arbeitszeit ist schwer zu kontrollieren. Haben Sie diesbezüglich Vorschläge, wie man das verbessern kann?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − There are two key points which I would like to make in response to this very concrete question.

One of them is that, of course, in the judgment on this specific matter we have to see how the Working Time Directive is applied in the country concerned. It varies greatly across Member States, and that is why it is very important that in the current period the social partners at European level are negotiating about the Working Time Directive and how to revise it.

But secondly and most importantly, in this document, which we adopted in March, there are many points about improving administrative cooperation, and such differences in national regulations will be sorted out and addressed more easily in the future through this improved administrative cooperation.

 
  
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  Danuta Jazłowiecka (PPE). - Panie Przewodniczący! Ja pytanie moje kieruję do komisarza Andora. Nie ulega wątpliwości, iż korzystanie ze swobody przemieszczania się oraz podejmowanie pracy w Unii Europejskiej wiąże się z koniecznością zabezpieczenia i przestrzegania praw pracowniczych. Taki cel przyświecał też Komisji podczas prac nad dyrektywą dotyczącą delegowania pracowników w ramach świadczenia usług.

Wstępna analiza tej dyrektywy nasuwa mi pewne pytania. Czy Komisja nie obawia się, że propozycja wprowadzenia szeregu kryteriów oceny faktycznego związku pomiędzy pracodawcą a jego krajem pochodzenia oraz czasowego charakteru delegowania pracownika nie spowoduje jeszcze większych trudności z interpretacją i wdrożeniem dyrektywy niż obecnie? Wiele z kryteriów zaproponowanych przez Komisję nie uwzględnia różnorodności podmiotów gospodarczych i usług oraz może przyczynić się do nałożenia dodatkowych obciążeń biurokratycznych i finansowych, szczególnie na małe i średnie przedsiębiorstwa. Czy Komisja nie obawia się, że wprowadzenie instytucji odpowiedzialności solidarnej we wszystkich państwach członkowskich doprowadzi pośrednio do ograniczenia możliwości świadczenia usług w Unii Europejskiej w sektorze budownictwa, gdzie ta forma zatrudnienia jest najbardziej popularna? Obawy przed potencjalną odpowiedzialnością mogą spowodować rezygnację z delegowania pracowników.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Ms Jazłowiecka, the intention and in fact the objective of the Commission with this work is to continue to facilitate cross-border services while at the same time fighting social dumping and protecting the posted workers better. I believe we delivered this. The particular elements in this proposal concerning the construction industry will help clarify and improve the situation and build confidence around posting practices.

The number of posted workers will not depend on this. Companies will enjoy the same opportunities to provide cross-border services as in the past, but there will be a greater clarity about how to implement the existing regulation and how to avoid the problematic cases of the past. Whether there is a demand and indeed a practice of posting depends on a variety of factors. It depends on the situation in the given industry and the markets and the needs for labour, geographic proximity, and various other economic factors. The fact that we now propose new practices to ensure and guarantee rights and improve administrative cooperation will, I believe, not undermine cross-border services. They will actually clarify the situation, build confidence and thus perhaps even facilitate more than in the past.

 
  
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  Danuta Jazłowiecka (PPE). - Panie Komisarzu! W Unii Europejskiej jest osiem krajów, które wprowadziły instytucję odpowiedzialności solidarnej. Czy może Pan podać kraj, w którym ta instytucja funkcjonuje modelowo i tak dobrze, że mogłaby ona zostać wdrożona w pozostałych państwach członkowskich? Czy rzeczywiście wprowadzenie tej instytucji zabezpieczy ochronę praw pracowniczych?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − For me this is not an opportunity to name and shame as regards best practices or to state where there have been fewer cases because very often the conflicts round the posting of workers have emerged because of differences in regulations: the lack of proper ground for a uniform interpretation of the European rules. We are acting to help the proper interpretation and to respond to the diversity of the European industrial relation systems in a better way through improved European practice.

 
  
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  Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (S&D). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, volevo porre la mia domanda al Commissario relativamente al regolamento Monti sull'esercizio del diritto di azione collettiva. Penso che la proposta che viene avanzata dalla Commissione sia inaccettabile, perché lesiva dei diritti fondamentali della persona e dei diritti collettivi dei soggetti di rappresentanza, perché quando si ipotizza il reciproco rispetto tra la libertà di stabilimento e quella dell'esercizio dei propri diritti, e quando si dice che lo sciopero va bilanciato con le libertà economiche, si interferisce in un'area che dovrebbe essere invece lasciata alle parti.

Credo che una formula di questa natura sia contraria agli interessi materiali che le persone che vengono rappresentate hanno, ma sia lesiva anche dei diritti che sono stati sanciti dalle organizzazioni internazionali e dalle leggi sui diritti delle persone che lavorano, quanto su quelli della cittadinanza. Credo che questa proposta debba essere per questa ragione profondamente cambiata, o addirittura, come sarebbe meglio, ritirata, per aprire una discussione che preveda un punto di bilanciamento, lasciato però alle parti di rappresentanza sociale.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Mr President, this is indeed a sensitive point, but I believe that the correct interpretation will help to eliminate concerns and anxiety regarding Monti II.

To clarify: the draft regulation confirms that there is no primacy of the freedom to provide services or the establishment of the right to strike. It will not impose any additional obstacles on exercising the right to strike. In fact, the Monti II regulation aims – without reversing European Court of Justice case law – to clarify the extent to which trade unions may exercise the right to strike in cases of cross-border operations, and to put forward rules for dealing with obstacles to the free provision of services or to the freedom of establishment created by the exercise of fundamental social rights.

The Monti II regulation recognises that Member States have limited possibilities to intervene in strikes and that the EU is not competent to legislate on the right to strike, as you can read in Article 153 (5) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

I believe that the right interpretation of Monti II will help to eliminate misunderstandings on this issue, as was the case with Monti I.

 
  
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  Sergio Gaetano Cofferati (S&D). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Signor Commissario, in verità il regolamento del quale stiamo discutendo lede l'attuale giurisprudenza. In alcuni Stati membri vi sono forme di autoregolamentazione che sono state decise liberamente dalle organizzazioni di rappresentanza dei lavoratori e non sono imposte per legge, e guai se fosse così.

Penso che questa sia una sfera che va lasciata all'autonomia – ove sono necessarie forme di definizione del rapporto tra lo sciopero e gli effetti che determina sull'utenza – e non deve essere in alcun modo invasa dalla giurisprudenza, sia che si tratti di azioni che si svolgono dentro un singolo paese, sia che si tratti di azioni che possono riguardare attività transfrontaliere e dunque per questo vengano coinvolti anche paesi diversi tra di loro.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Again I can say that this regulation respects the diversity of the industrial relations system and, for example in the case of industrial conflict, highlights the role of the national courts, since they are the closest to the situation where the problems or disagreements might occur. I think it is very important to realise that this Monti II does not actually regulate on the right to strike and that the Member States are free to lay down the conditions for the existence and exercise of the social rights at issue.

However, when exercising their power the Member States must comply with Union law, in particular the provisions of the Treaty on the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services. The Court clearly stated that the right to strike does not fall outside the scope of the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services.

I can also add that the regulation lays down general principles with respect to the exercise of the right to strike within the context of the freedom of establishment and the freedom to provide services. It does not affect in any way the right to strike within the Member States.

 
  
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  Renate Weber (ALDE). - Sunt o mare susţinătoare a construcţiei europene şi de aceea înţeleg inclusiv ideea de unitate în faţa crizei economice. Ce nu înţeleg însă este de ce solidaritatea înseamnă ca cetăţenilor români şi bulgari să li se ceară sprijin pentru planuri comune de ieşire din criză, dar în acelaşi timp să li se aplice restricţii care demonstrează că nu suntem cetăţeni europeni cu drepturi egale. Dacă am fi egali am avea cu toţii dreptul la muncă fără restricţii, indiferent de ţara în care am dori să ne stabilim şi am avea cu toţii dreptul la libera circulaţie, ceea ce încă nu e cazul, căci România şi Bulgaria nu au primit statutul de membre ale spaţiului Schengen, deşi criteriile tehnice sunt demult îndeplinite. Aşadar, concetăţenii mei români au în primul rând obligaţii europene şi mai puţine drepturi, un dezechilibru care contrazice însăşi esenţa ideii europene. Are Comisia un plan prin care să convingă Consiliul şi statele membre să schimbe aceste practici chiar în acest an?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Perhaps the previous Commissioner for Enlargement will supplement what I am saying, but this is exactly the point: since the freedom of movement from new Member States is regulated within the enlargement agreements, the same rules in fact apply to those countries that joined the Union in 2004 and in 2007, and to Croatia, which will join next year.

There is no discrimination because these three stages have been defined in an identical way vis-à-vis these countries. Nevertheless, we do emphasise the merits of free movement and we have been inviting the older Member States to open their labour markets faster than has been laid down, and quite a few of them have actually done that. Quite a few opened very early, and some –Italy and the Czech Republic – abandoned the restrictions from 1 January. So they will not apply the restrictions vis-à-vis Romania and Bulgaria for the next two years.

I have been calling on all others to reconsider their decisions. I sent a letter to these governments in order to encourage them to reconsider their decisions, and in the forthcoming employment package we also point to the importance of this.

 
  
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  Renate Weber (ALDE). - Is the Commission satisfied with the explanation you received from the Member States which are still keeping the restrictions, claiming that our presence will distort the labour market?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − No, the Commission was not fully satisfied with the argumentation and in my letter to the relevant ministers I also pointed to the insufficient analytical support for maintenance of the restrictions. These governments will have to send additional analyses in the coming period in order to justify their decisions, which have taken effect since 1 January.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Schroedter (Verts/ALE). - Herr Präsident! Ich möchte eine Frage anhand eines konkreten Beispiels stellen: In der Großbaustelle in Berlin-Brandenburg, dem Flughafen, gilt eine Regelung, wonach jeder Arbeitnehmer die Baustelle nur mit einem individuellen Ausweis betreten darf, damit es möglich ist sicherzustellen, dass die Entsenderichtlinie und die entsprechende deutsche Gesetzgebung wirklich eingehalten werden. Der Betreiber hat es 300 von den 6 000 Arbeitnehmern ermöglicht, die Baustelle ohne diese Regeln zu betreten. Das Ergebnis ist, dass genau bei diesen 300 Arbeitnehmern Lohndumping gemacht worden ist. Das heißt, diese 300 haben ihren Lohn nicht bekommen. Sie haben für ihre Arbeit gar keinen Lohn bekommen!

Das Beispiel zeigt, dass die Regelung, die Kontrollen der Mitgliedstaaten einzuschränken, die Sie in Ihrem Vorschlag haben, genau zum Gegenteil führt, nämlich zum Sozialdumping. Meine Frage ist: Warum wollen Sie den Mitgliedstaaten nicht die Freiheit geben, die Kontrollen auf den Baustellen selbstständig und gründlich durchzuführen? Warum wollen Sie die limitieren?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Ms Schroedter, the Member States can build on the regulation which was proposed by the Commission and which would be established as a European standard. This was actually a very important point for Germany, as the principle of joint and several liability – a key element of the proposed legislation – has already been applied in that country. If there are still controversies – as in the one case in Berlin that you mentioned – then this is very unfortunate. If the problem remains unresolved, then I would be very happy to look into the case when I next go to Berlin on 5 June.

The point is that the construction industry has faced many adversities and problematic cases, and we have to establish greater accountability. There are various instruments for this. There are ‘avoid lists’, which help companies that want to use subcontractors, for example, to see which companies apply good practice and pay their taxes and social security. All of this is very important in creating a cleaner environment and better practices, and in improving confidence regarding cross-border services.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Schroedter (Verts/ALE). - Herr Kommissar! Ihre Antwort hat mich nicht zufriedengestellt.

In Artikel 9 Ihres Vorschlags haben Sie aufgelistet, welche Maßnahmen die Mitgliedstaaten treffen dürfen. Das heißt, Sie gehen weiter als die ursprüngliche Verordnung. In der ursprünglichen Verordnung ist es die Freiheit der Mitgliedstaaten, die Kontrollen so gut und effizient wie möglich durchzuführen. In dem Moment, wo Sie sie auflisten, limitieren Sie die Kontrollen. Und dann passiert genau das, was ich über Berlin erzählt habe. Das bedeutet, dass viele Arbeitnehmerinnen und Arbeitnehmer in Europa um ihren Lohn gebracht werden. Das können Sie doch nicht verantworten! Für mich ist die Frage: Warum greifen Sie in Ihrem Artikel 9 in die Kontrollkompetenz der Mitgliedstaaten ein?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Just two points: first of all, while I know that the government in Berlin is comfortable with this element of the proposed legislation, may I just reiterate that they can maintain more regulation and more controls if they so wish. However, the intention of the proposed European legislation is to create a level playing field at a minimum level, as the regulation in certain countries was indeed insufficient. This is not about the level of the wages: it is about guaranteeing that workers actually receive the wages that they are entitled to, especially in the context of the posting. It would be too ambitious, of course, and probably also inappropriate, to try to regulate the level of the wages. The point is that there are more guarantees that the workers will actually receive what they are entitled to, and this is very good.

 
  
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  Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL). - Ik denk dat loondumping het centrale thema van de vraag is en ik heb daar ook een vraag over. In het internationaal wegvervoer zijn er veel chauffeurs in Nederland die op dit moment dramatische brieven naar mij schrijven dat Nederlandse bedrijven een vestiging openen in bijvoorbeeld Roemenië, daar vervolgens het personeel vandaan halen - met dezelfde vrachtwagens die zij daarvoor in Nederland in hun bedrijf hadden - en dat zij dan vervolgens tegen hun Nederlandse chauffeurs zeggen dat er voor hen geen werk meer is, tenzij zij de arbeidsvoorwaarden aanvaarden die voor de Roemenen gelden.

Dat is volgens mij een directe vorm van loondumping. Door een eenvoudige beweging in Europa kun je met hetzelfde bedrijf opeens de arbeidsvoorwaarden omlaag krijgen. Ik zie niet in het voorstel van de Commissie over de detacheringsrichtlijn enige garantie dat dit soort schijnbewegingen van bedrijven wordt tegengegaan; ik zou graag van de Commissie weten hoe wij dat doen en of het de bedoeling van Europa is dat wij de lonen gaan drukken.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I would like to make two points in response to this question. One of them is that there is indeed an important focus in this proposal on the so-called letterbox companies that simply move their centre of establishment to another country without having a relevant part of their economic activities in that country. It contains important provisions seeking to diminish – or even eliminate – such practices in the future. This is indeed a form of social dumping, and it does not help in maintaining fairness and a level playing field in the European economy.

The second point I would like to make is that in Europe the reality is that there are wage differences between various countries and various regions. There should be broader consideration of many policies – not simply a matter of legislation on one particular working practice – in order to see how convergence might be facilitated and the various tensions which are connected to these wage differences reduced in the future.

 
  
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  Cornelis de Jong (GUE/NGL). - Ik dank de commissaris. Ik had natuurlijk ook gezien dat er in het voorstel van de Commissie over brievenbusmaatschappijen wordt gesproken. Mijn vraag is dan wel: wat verstaat de Commissie onder een belangrijke of geen belangrijke economische activiteit? De tweede vraag die ik eraan wil koppelen: is de Commissie bereid om in de toekomst ook meer voorstellen te doen voor minimumafspraken over de sociale rechten in de verschillende landen, bijvoorbeeld een minimumloon gerelateerd aan het nationaal inkomen? Want dan lossen wij dit probleem ook structureel op.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − What we judge to be a critical (minimum) level of economic activity should also depend on the sector and various other parameters which have to be looked at in the case of particular companies and countries.

The important thing is that within a sectoral context it is possible to define and draw conclusions, if necessary, about improving the situation. The Enforcement Directive will in fact clarify the elements of the notion of posting, which will help to combat the use of temporary posting by so-called letterbox companies as a subterfuge to circumvent the applicable law. The letterbox company, I may remind you, has no genuine economic activity in the Member State of establishment, and this is what we have to look at.

Concerning further proposals, yes, we will also be looking at the question of a minimum wage and other important issues in the labour market in the forthcoming employment package.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, la lotta alla disoccupazione giovanile è una priorità della Commissione europea e ci sono 82 miliardi di euro a disposizione, di cui 8 miliardi per l'Italia. Ovviamente non si tratta, come è noto, di risorse aggiuntive, ma di fondi strutturali non spesi, comunque sono risorse importanti.

La Commissione, insieme alle risorse, ha previsto degli action team a sostegno degli otto Stati membri dove c'è il più alto tasso di disoccupazione, tra cui l'Italia, che è arrivata al 31,9% secondo i dati di aprile. Due mesi fa, l'action team è arrivato in Italia, ma non c'è stata alcuna evidenza pubblica di questo incontro.

La domanda quindi è: cosa sta succedendo? Ci sono informazioni, la Commissione può fornire informazioni sulla riprogrammazione dei fondi, su azioni concrete messe in atto da parte del governo italiano?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Yes indeed, this is a very important initiative and a very practical initiative of the European Commission. The eight action teams have been in the Member States where the youth unemployment rate is the highest, including Italy. I had an opportunity less than two weeks ago to give personal feedback to the Italian public because I was in Tuscany and attended an event on youth employment, together with the President of Tuscany, Mr Rossi. I did that because Tuscany has an excellent example: a programme which is supported by the European Social Fund called Giovanisì, which could also be seen as a model for other parts of Italy to provide public support to help young people launch their careers, launch their individual existence and have a better life. It supports hundreds of young people in that particular region and I am very proud that the ESF is playing a strong role in this.

The action teams came back. They summed up their conclusions and next week in the formal EPSCO Council I will discuss with Ministers the actual proposals. There are very concrete proposals for all eight countries regarding various aspects of youth employment and training. We shall then return in order to see what needs to be done in practice, whether it requires reallocation or not. Reallocation is possible within the European Social Fund but also in the broader context of EU funds if justified.

 
  
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  Roberta Angelilli (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Signor Commissario, una domanda: perché non sono state consultate le parti sociali, in particolare le organizzazioni giovanili e i giovani, dal momento che la Commissione, anche nella comunicazione sull'iniziativa "Opportunità per i giovani", ha detto che è importante consultare e coinvolgere le parti sociali e quindi i giovani, proprio per richiedere il loro attivo e concreto coinvolgimento in tali iniziative?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The social partners have been consulted, and I have to say that President Barroso has been personally involved in a dialogue with the representatives of the EU-level social partners, both Business Europe and the ETUC. Business Europe is also developing its own action programme – particularly focusing on apprenticeships, although not exclusively – in this area, and the ETUC is also working hard on this.

This subject was actually dealt with during our discussions at the Tripartite Social Summit on 1 March at which – in addition to President Barroso – President Herman Von Rompuy was present. Youth employment, therefore, is indeed a key issue. Unfortunately, there are many problems in the area of the labour market: unemployment is at its peak at present and represents the greatest problem that Europe has faced at any time in the last 60 years. But we have to focus action where the situation is the most difficult, which is actually the employment of young people, especially in the so-called peripheral regions.

 
  
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  Csaba Sándor Tabajdi (S&D). - Andor biztos úrhoz szeretnék föltenni egy kérdést. Nevezetesen, hogy ma a kiküldött munkavállalók száma egymillió, ami nem éri el az európai munkavállalók egy százalékát sem, pontosabban ez 0,7%-a. Hogyan látja biztos úr, hogy mennyiben vezethető vissza, hogy ilyen alacsony a kiküldött munkások aránya Európában az uniós szabályozás hiányosságaira, az eddigi irányelvre és az eddigi rendeletre? Készült-e hatástanulmány a Bizottság részéről? Hogy ha elfogadnák az irányelv módosítását és a Monti II. rendeletet, ez mennyiben teremtene új munkahelyeket, mennyiben segítené azt a gazdasági növekedést, amely ma Európa legnagyobb problémája, hogy nincs elég gazdasági növekedés. Ezzel kapcsolatosan mi a Bizottság hatásvizsgálatának az eredménye?

 
  
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  László Andor, a Bizottság tagja. − Tisztelt Képviselő úr! Valóban volt egy nagyon alapos hatásvizsgálat mielőtt a Bizottság a maga javaslatát megtette, és ez abba az irányba mutatott, hogy a meghozandó új szabályozás segít növelni azoknak a dolgozóknak a számát, akik új munkalehetőséghez juthatnak az ilyen kiküldetések keretében. Ugyanakkor ez nyilvánvalóan nem öncél. Tehát nem cél önmagában az, hogy több dolgozó dolgozzon külföldön szemben a saját otthoni környezetével, de ezeket a lehetőségeket ki kell használni. Ha összehasonlítjuk az Európai Uniót például az Egyesült Államokkal, ami szintén egy egységes piac, a mobilitás jóval szerényebb.

De ennek sok oka van. Sok oka van a kiküldetések esetében is, meg sok oka van általában a munkavállalók szabad mozgása tekintetében. A nyelvi akadályok, adminisztratív akadályok, lakáshelyzet, lakáshoz jutásban fönnálló különbségek, és sok egyéb tényező létezik, amelyik hátráltatja a munkaerő nemzetközi mozgását, akár szabad munkavállalás, akár pedig a kiküldetések keretében. Mi azon vagyunk, hogy ezek az akadályok elháruljanak, minél kevesebb legyen belőlük, hiszen ez nem csak egy szabadságjog az európai polgárok számára, hanem egy nagyon fontos gazdasági lehetőség is, mind az üzleti szféra, mind pedig az egyének szempontjából.

 
  
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  Csaba Sándor Tabajdi (S&D). - Köszönöm a választ Biztos Úr! A szociális dömping emlegetésekor gyakran képviselőtársaim részéről úgy érzem, hogy van egy bezárkózás a régi tagállamok részéről, és nagyon jó lenne, hogy ha nem termelődne újra a lengyel vízvezeték-szerelő vitája, nem jönne újra elő a régi és új tagállamok vitája, mert bizony, ha megnézem a kiküldött munkaerők arányát, amit az előbbiekben elmondtam, akkor azt hiszem, hogy itt el van túlozva ez a szociális dömping. Hogyan lehetne itt megoldani, hogy ne legyen egy újabb törésvonal a 2004 után fölvett új tagállamok és a régi tagállamok között?

 
  
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  László Andor, a Bizottság tagja. − Képviselő Úr! Megjegyzésével, ami mint implikáció, sugárzik belőle, hogy tudniillik ez a kiküldött munkavállalók mennyiségén túlmutató vita, ha tetszik egyfajta szimbolikus vita, amelynek jelentőségét azonban meg lehet érteni, ha tekintetbe vesszük, hogy ezek a viták - különösen ami a bírósági döntéseket illeti - a szociális jogok lényegét érintették. Ebből a szempontból azt gondolom, hogy ez egy nagyon fontos vita, ez egy fontos, lényeges szabályozás, amit a Bizottság előterjesztett márciusban, de valóban bele kell helyezni egy sokkal tágabb kontextusba, ami a szociális különbségek leküzdését, a hátrányos helyzetek leküzdését, a felzárkózási lehetőségek biztosítását célozza. Vannak egyéni stratégiák, ami a munkavállalás szabadságában jelenhet meg, illetőleg vannak kollektív stratégiák, amelyek az egyes régiók, országok fölzárkóztatásával oldhatók meg. Tehát ezek a dolgok így valóban összefüggnek s a tágabb kontextus mindenképpen indokolt.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). - Moja krajina je najväčším výrobcom automobilov na svete v prepočte na obyvateľa. Pozornejším skúmaním mzdových podmienok zamestnancov sa nám však ukázalo, že výška miezd zamestnancov napríklad v bratislavskom závode predstavuje len 50 % mzdy vyplácanej automobilkou za takú istú prácu v jej fabrike v materskej krajine. Chcem sa opýtať, či takýmto správaním sa nezneužívajú niektoré významné európske nadnárodné koncerny svoje dominantné postavenie na diskriminačnú mzdovú politiku voči tým partnerským krajinám v Únii, v ktorých sú pre vysokú nezamestnanosť ľudia ochotní prijať prácu aj za podhodnotenú mzdu.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − On this matter I speak under the guidance of the Vice-President but I think that, if it is true that the wages in the car manufacturing sector in Bratislava are just half of the wages in some more advanced industrial countries, then it is a good result because normally, in terms of the average wages, there are much bigger differences between the countries of Western and Northern Europe and the so-called new Member States in Central Europe and the Balkans.

I think this should be seen as a factor of industrial development. The wage level clearly plays a role in attracting foreign investment – FDI – to Slovakia and we can only congratulate Slovakia on its very successful industrial development in the last ten to fifteen years. However, what we should also note is not simply the wage differences between Bratislava and some Western European locations but also the differences between western and eastern Slovakia. We should also have the objective of ensuring that regional development helps catching up inside the country and that these differences become a bit more balanced in the future.

 
  
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  Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the Commission. − Just to supplement what my colleague and friend László Andor has said, I think it is always difficult to define the right level of wages, if there is such a concept. Normally it is advisable for wage development to reflect productivity developments and to help optimise employment and job creation in any given society or Member State.

Without taking any precise position, for these reasons, on the exact level of wages in Slovakia or any other Member State, I think it is clearly a fact that this wage development reflects the level of economic development. I would join László Andor in commending Slovakia for its formidable industrial development over the past two decades. In fact the success of Slovakia – and many other countries of Central and Eastern Europe which are part of the overall production chains of Europe – are some of the success stories of the enlargement of the European Union. Despite the financial crisis and its aftermath and the social and economic consequences, it is a fact that the eastern enlargement of the European Union has been beneficial in economic terms for the whole of Europe in terms of competitiveness and the overall creation of jobs.

 
  
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  Jaroslav Paška (EFD). - Podľa elementárnych ekonomických pravidiel by výška mzdy mala byť odrazom produktivity práce. Produktivita práce v bratislavskom závode je však vyššia ako v materskom závode v materskej krajine. Chcem sa opýtať, ako dlho budeme tolerovať takúto diskrimináciu pracovnej sily vo východnej Európe podľa elementárnych pravidiel.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − There is definitely no discrimination as such in this. However, what I should highlight – which we did not mention in the answer to the previous question – is the importance of social dialogue in this. Of course there is an economic rationale which helps define wages in the labour market, but from an institutional point of view – and this should be underlined in the Central European context as well – the social partners play a role – I would say a dominant role – in defining wages. Perhaps that dimension should be looked at in Slovakia and strengthened in the coming period. When I have an opportunity to meet officials of the new government I will certainly raise this point.

 
  
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  Ádám Kósa (PPE). - Az Európai Bizottság 2010 végén megjelent fogyatékosügyi stratégiájában, amiben szerepel egy szám, ami a foglalkoztatásról szól, ez a szám 50%. Ez a szám 50%-os foglalkoztatási szint. Közép-Kelet-Európáról beszélünk, akkor ennek a számnak a fele érvényes, tehát nagyon alacsony a foglalkoztatási szint. Sajnos nincs olyan szám, ami megmutatná, hogy a fogyatékossággal élő munkavállalók más EU-tagállamokban tudnak-e munkát vállalni. Nem hiszem, hogy meglepetést okozok vele, hogy ha azt mondom, hogy elenyésző számban vállalnak munkát. Hogy miért? Mert nem egységes az akadálymenetesítés és a szociális szolgáltatás egyes tagállamokban. Az a kérdésem, hogy az Európai Bizottság ennek a célnak az érdekében mit kíván tenni? Különös tekintettel arra, hogy ebben az évben szeretné a Bizottság beterjeszteni az úgynevezett Európai Akadálymentesítési Jogszabálycsomagot.

 
  
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  László Andor, a Bizottság tagja. − Tisztelt Képviselő Úr! Mint tudja, sok eleme a kérdésnek, illetőleg ennek a témának Viviane Reding alelnök asszonyhoz tartozik, különösen, ami a diszkrimináció elleni küzdelmet jelenti. Ugyanakkor valóban nagyon fontosak a fogyatékosság munkaerőpiaci összefüggései, és pontosan ebből a megfontolásból vettem részt nemrégiben Bulgáriában azon a vásáron, illetőleg konferencián, amelyen a fogyatékosokat foglalkoztató vállalkozások és szövetkezetek vettek részt, és nagyon fontos, hogy ez az évtizedes múltú hagyomány Bulgáriában most kiterjed európai szintre. Ennek az eseménynek résztvevői voltak Olaszországból, Romániából, más európai országokból is, és egyfajta mintát szolgáltattak annak, hogy vállalkozásokon, szövetkezeteken, szociális gazdaság támogatásán keresztül hogyan lehet a fogyatékkal élők helyzetén javítani, számukra munkalehetőségeket biztosítani.

Mi azt tudjuk tenni, hogy segítünk elterjeszteni ezeket a jó példákat, ezeket a jó gyakorlatokat, illetőleg támogatjuk a Bizottság, illetőleg az Európai Unió anyagi eszközeivel. Elsőként ismét a Szociális Alapot kell említenem, ami Bulgáriában támogatja ezeket a programokat, és amikor a következő pénzügyi perspektíván dolgoztunk, erre külön odafigyeltem, köszönhetően az Önnel folytatott megbeszéléseknek is, hogy a Szociális Alap explicit módon garantálja, hogy a fogyatékkal élők munkaerőpiaci integrációjára és képzésére a Szociális Alap a jövőben még jobban használható legyen. A mobilitás egy külön kérdés, azt gondolom, hogy ennek a nemzetközi összehangolásáról elsősorban Reding asszonnyal kell majd beszélni.

 
  
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  Ádám Kósa (PPE). - Köszönöm a válaszát! A második kiegészítő kérdésem éppen az Európai Szociális Alappal kapcsolatos. Az elmúlt években körülbelül az alapforrásnak a 4%-át fordították a fogyatékossággal élők helyzetének javítására. Közben pedig Európa állampolgárainak körülbelül 10 %-a fogyatékossággal él. Tehát jogos a felvetés azt mondani, hogy legalább az Alap 10%-át, a forrás 10%-át a fogyatékossággal élő emberekre kéne fordítani. Ezen az úton kíván haladni a Bizottság?

 
  
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  László Andor, a Bizottság tagja. − Képviselő úr! Én mindenképpen annyiban egyetértek, hogy növelni volna jó azt a részarányt, amellyel a fogyatékosokat támogatjuk a munkaerőpiaci integráció terén, ugyanakkor itt konkrét célszámokat azért nehéz megfogalmazni, mert a tagállamok, a régiók, akik aktorai a fejlesztési politikáknak és a kohéziós politika végrehajtásának, mindenképpen rendelkeznek autonómiával, mozgástérrel, jogokkal, ők fejlesztik ki azokat a terveket, elképzeléseket, amelyek keretében a fogyatékkal élők helyzetén javítani kell. Ez számunkra azért is preferencia, mert nem csak a munkanélküliség vagy a munkaerőpiaci hátrányok sújthatják a fogyatékkal élőket, hanem a szegénység fenyegetettsége is lényegesen nagyobb különösen egy olyan időszakban, amikor nem csak a munkaerőpiacon vannak feszültségek, hanem a fiskális politikában is. Ugye a szociális szolgáltatások korlátozása vagy visszafejlődése esetleg gondot okozhat, tehát erre mindenképpen odafigyelünk, és azt gondolom, hogy emiatt a szociális innováció terén is egy fontos feladat kell, hogy legyen a jövőben.

 
  
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  President. − We have about half an hour left and I have too many questions for that time. On the basis of people putting their hands up asking for the floor, and based on groups, I have the following people still on my list who are likely to get called, but I cannot guarantee it: Ms Ţicău, Mr Bennion, Ms Mazzoni, Ms Berès, Ms Turunen, Mr Papanikolaou, Mr Omarjee, Mr Obermayr and Mr Niculescu. I am sorry but it is unlikely that we will get to any other questions.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D). - Libertatea de circulaţie a persoanelor reprezintă una din libertăţile fundamentale garantate de tratat, acest lucru incluzând dreptul cetăţenilor Uniunii de a trăi şi de a lucra în alt stat membru.

Barierele existente în calea liberei circulaţii a lucrătorilor din România şi Bulgaria pot conduce la muncă nedeclarată şi la dumping social. Ridicarea acestor bariere va proteja în egală măsură atât pe lucrătorii migranţi, cât şi pe lucrătorii autohtoni. Solicităm Comisiei şi statelor membre să prevină exploatarea lucrătorilor români şi bulgari, să prevină recrutarea acestora în condiţii de muncă şi de protecţie socială precare şi să asigure accesul familiilor acestora la educaţie, la servicii de sănătate şi la locuinţe decente. Ce măsuri are în vedere Comisia pentru a evita situaţiile în care lucrătorilor din România şi Bulgaria nu le sunt respectate drepturile sociale fundamentale?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − As I have already answered with regard to a previous case, we have to apply what has been laid down in the accession agreements, and that does not constitute discrimination. But – at the same time – we have been advocating a more rapid opening of the labour markets of the older Member States.

Last year, we had many opportunities to discuss these questions with Austria and Germany, who eventually opened up for the eight Member States who joined in 2004. The problem of undeclared work was in the spotlight, as it has been empirically proven that undeclared work is an unfortunate consequence of the restrictions that have been maintained for too long. This is one of the key arguments that we use in order to try to encourage Member States to open up faster. But – as I have already said – the majority of Member States still have the right to maintain restrictions with regard to Bulgaria and Romania until the end of next year.

We nevertheless call on them to reconsider their decisions, as – from an economic and also social point of view – there are many benefits to free movement.

 
  
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  Silvia-Adriana Ţicău (S&D). - Eu m-am referit la situaţia în care lucrătorii din România şi Bulgaria sunt angajaţi, dar în condiţii de muncă precare. O a doua întrebare se referă la următorul lucru: prin propunerea din luna martie privind protecţia lucrătorilor detaşaţi, Comisia intenţionează să stimuleze locurile de muncă de calitate, garantând totodată drepturile lucrătorilor. Barierele existente în calea liberei circulaţii a lucrătorilor din România şi Bulgaria pot conduce la muncă nedeclarată şi la dumping social. România şi Bulgaria nu se află printre statele membre recunoscute ca expeditoare de lucrători detaşaţi, deşi aceştia nu intră pe piaţa forţei de muncă din ţara gazdă. Are Comisia date concrete care să dovedească faptul că lucrătorii din România şi Bulgaria au avut un impact negativ asupra pieţelor... ( preşedintele întrerupe oratorul)

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Very briefly, of course it is very important to ensure, under the existing arrangements, the free movement of workers and to fight undeclared work and other forms of abuse. However – and I should also highlight this in my reply – it is also very important to make efforts to create jobs and fight poverty at home.

In Romania and Bulgaria it is also important to invest more in creating opportunities and more jobs, developing the economy, helping regional development and fighting against poverty in general. We have to see all the European aspects of this problem because only if we act on all fronts can we succeed.

 
  
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  Alejandro Cercas (S&D). - Señor Presidente, muy brevemente: el Grupo Socialista tiene la percepción de que el número de intervinientes en este turno de preguntas a la Comisión no es proporcional al número de miembros de los diferentes grupos políticos.

Probablemente estemos equivocados, pero esa es una percepción que estamos teniendo, y hemos estado presentes desde el principio del turno de preguntas. Hay muchos miembros del Grupo socialista que no han tomado la palabra. Pero, sobre todo, señor Presidente, hay entre nuestros miembros personas que van a ser ponentes de determinados informes legislativos, y se está dando la palabra a personas que no forman parte de la Comisión de Empleo y Asuntos Sociales o que no están directamente relacionadas con los expedientes a los que se ha hecho referencia.

¿Es que esto no podría tenerse en cuenta también, a la hora de elegir entre los diputados, y elegir a aquellos que están más concernidos por los asuntos que los señores Comisarios están abordando?

 
  
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  President. − We are not actually selecting on the basis of responsibilities or committees. It is basically a catch-the-eye procedure and it is based literally on that, plus the bias to allow for the groups. In fact there will probably be five Socialist questions and only four from the EPP this time. You are getting your fair share. We have already heard from Mr Tabajdi, Mr Cofferati, Ms Ţicău and Ms Regner and they are, I believe, in your group.

 
  
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  Phil Bennion (ALDE). - My concern is with the liability transfer proposals within the Posted Workers Directive. I would like to ask the Commissioner whether he does not think it is going a little bit too far to take this to European level, considering that most Member States do not have these provisions in their whole legal framework. This applies particularly to those Member States that have developed economies based on large numbers of very specialised contractors. In fact, these contractors are largely thought of as suppliers.

Would it not be true to say that there is a possibility here that we are moving towards a situation where customers will be held responsible for their suppliers’ actions? This is something that – in many Member States – would be thought of as contravening natural justice. Indeed, in some Member States with highly competitive economies based on many small contractors, would it not in fact hinder a move towards a more competitive economy?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − First of all, I believe that the proposal for joint and several liability in the construction industry is not excessive. It helps create a level playing field and focuses efforts where problems are the greatest.

I think it is also important to note that most of the famous – so-called controversial – cases in the history of the posting of workers in Europe come from countries or areas where this liability regime is not applied. In fact, where it is applied in various ways, there is already a better, cleaner, less ambiguous practice with regard to the posting of the workers. But I should also add that, under the proposal which we made, the joint and several liability will not be mandatory if there is a due diligence procedure. In the countries to which you refer – some of the so-called highly competitive countries, although some of them might currently be in recession or a very difficult situation – there are good due diligence practices. In such cases the principle of joint and several liability would not apply. Nevertheless, I still believe that it is a very important and helpful proposal. It simply requires a company to look at who the subcontractor is and at the background and history of that business partner.

 
  
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  Phil Bennion (ALDE). - Very quickly: I am probably not going to agree with the Commissioner on this one, but instead of a supplementary, I just want to point out that Mrs Harkin actually thought she had been recognised from the panel by the Chair’s aides very early on in the debate – before I even arrived – and she has not been called.

I just wanted to point that out.

 
  
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  President. − You are welcome to come and check the list I have in front of me, which will prove that we did it in this order.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Signor Commissario, i dati sulla disoccupazione sono in crescita e in maniera molto lucida la Commissione ha aggiornato la propria strategia sull'occupazione; in particolare la Commissione ha dato indicazioni agli Stati membri per cercare di bilanciare le misure dell'austerità e della riduzione del deficit con la necessità di aumentare l'occupazione e di promuovere la crescita.

Queste misure prevedono una maggiore flessibilità, che però non vuol dire instabilità del posto di lavoro, ma minori imposte sul lavoro, più aiuti alle nuove professioni nel settore dell'ecologia, della salute e dell'informatica, introduzione del salario minimo, più occupazione femminile – perché è una risorsa non sfruttata o sottoutilizzata – e più occupazione per i giovani perché la maggiore fascia di disoccupazione è proprio fra i 23 e i 26 anni.

L'Italia è un paese sotto osservazione, come ricordava anche l'onorevole Angelilli, diciamo più correttamente che è un paese commissariato. Signor Commissario, ritiene che la riforma che si sta promuovendo – al di là della spesa delle risorse che sono a disposizione – che vuol dire futuro, vuol dire accompagnare la strategia dell'Unione europea, la riforma che sta promuovendo il governo italiano sia rispettosa delle indicazioni della nuova strategia europea?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I do believe that this is a transformative time for Italy and that the labour market reforms are crucial in this effort.

Indeed, the objective is fully in line with the Commission’s belief that we have to create a dynamic and inclusive labour market. The point which was made by the honourable Member about the female employment rate is very striking. There are a few countries in Europe – and Italy is one of them – where the employment rate for women is below 50%.

At a time when we have to make some transformations for the sake of cohesion as well as for economic competitiveness – and when we have agreed at EU level to reach a 75% employment rate by 2020 – governments have to address these situations. They have to introduce reforms, and this is the focus of the Italian Government’s programme at this time.

 
  
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  Erminia Mazzoni (PPE). - Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, Signor Commissario, non ho ascoltato, devo dire con rammarico, nella sua risposta un'indicazione, perché sono convinta che l'attuale condizione dell'Italia porti la Commissione ad avere una maggiore attenzione.

Abbiamo ricevuto nel luglio dello scorso anno una lettera nella quale avevamo indicazioni ben precise, non credo che quelle indicazioni, ma soprattutto l'aggiornamento della strategia dell'Unione europea che va verso una maggiore crescita, siano dentro la riforma del governo italiano. Ha poco senso mandare degli action team in Italia se poi quelle che sono le basi per raggiungere gli obiettivi europei, come l'occupazione al 75% nel 2020, non vengono monitorate nel tempo necessario.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I should briefly respond to the question regarding youth. If the Vice-President wants to comment on the broader questions of growth and the reforms, he should do so.

Of course the action team has to focus on a particular group, namely young people. This is a critical question, especially in the south of Italy. There are huge imbalances inside the country, as you probably know very well. I hope this will produce very practical, concrete results in the coming year.

I think the Vice-President wants to address the issue of growth and the reforms in a broader context.

 
  
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  Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the Commission. − Indeed, in the past few months, the Italian Government has shown very strong determination and I must say an impressive commitment to take up the twin challenge of fiscal consolidation and job-boosting reforms.

As regards fiscal consolidation, the effort made, in fact since 2010, is significant and has helped restore confidence in financial markets, not least thanks to the recent packages of fiscal consolidation that have been adopted by the government and supported by the parliament in Italy. At the same time, the sustainability of Italy’s public finances and of course the development of its employment depends on its growth prospects, especially in the context of recession, as is the case today.

The policy response to tackling the long-standing structural weaknesses and boosting the growth potential in Italy has been determined so far, and it is very comprehensive and wide-ranging. The rigorous implementation of the measures that have been adopted so far, especially to open up competition in product and services markets, to improve the business environment and to make better use of Structural Funds for investment, will be crucial in delivering their full benefits.

The next crucial step is the adoption by parliament of the long-awaited reform of the labour market, which is necessary in the light of the important challenges of the Italian labour market. As recommended by the Council at its recent meeting, Italy should embrace reforms that tackle the segmentation of the labour market by reviewing its employment protection legislation and revising the unemployment benefits system, as well as enhancing the system of active labour market policies. These reforms are crucial, not least because of the unacceptable level of youth unemployment in Italy.

The reform recently adopted by the government following consultations with the social partners has the ambition to comprehensively address the rigidities and asymmetries of the labour market, while moving towards a more integrated unemployment benefit scheme. This should make it possible to find a better balance between flexibility of entry and exit from the labour market and should give rise to a more dynamic and cohesive labour market.

 
  
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  Pervenche Berès (S&D). - Monsieur Rehn, Monsieur le Commissaire, si vous participez avec nous à ce débat sur le droit des travailleurs dans une Europe ouverte, c'est que, j'imagine, vous avez quelque chose à y dire, au-delà de l'écoute qui est la vôtre au cours de ces interventions.

Je dois vous dire, Monsieur le Commissaire, qu'il y a une grande différence entre vous et moi, à savoir que moi, je suis laïque, et j'ai parfois l'impression à vous écouter que vous faites partie d'une secte ou d'une église dont le dogme est celui de l'austérité. En tant que laïque, je m'appuie sur des preuves. Lorsque je regarde le résultat de l'Espagne aujourd'hui, un pays qui a été le bon élève du Pacte de stabilité, un pays où, y compris du temps du président Zapatero, toutes les recettes demandées par la Commission ont été mises en œuvre: ce pays compte aujourd'hui six millions de chômeurs.

Alors je vous demande, Monsieur le Commissaire, les droits des travailleurs dont nous parlons ne sont-ils que des droits pour les temps calmes et faut-il, qu'en temps de crise, la troïka aille en Grèce imposer un plan d'austérité qui ignore totalement la force de notre modèle social et l'importance du dialogue social pour pouvoir réussir cette sortie de crise.

 
  
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  Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the Commission. − I will leave my philosophical and religious beliefs out of this debate, even though I have to say that in my studies of macroeconomics the books of John Maynard Keynes figured very strongly. They certainly have plenty of lessons for all of us about what went wrong in the 1930s and what we should avoid in the 21st century.

As regards Spain – which was the specific point you made – you are correct when you say that Spain faces formidable challenges, especially concerning youth unemployment following the end of the credit boom and the bursting of the real estate bubble. This adjustment started in the wake of the crisis with a rapid downsizing of the construction sector, a decrease in the external deficit and some improvement in cost competitiveness.

Unfortunately, I cannot agree with you when you say that last year in Spain everything was done perfectly, because there was a major fiscal slippage of over 2.5%, from 6 to 8.5%, which, in more numerical, concrete terms, is equivalent to a slippage of around EUR 25 billion. This slippage came mainly from the regional governments.

Therefore it is essential for Spain, as part of its reform efforts, to take concrete action to ensure better sustainability of the autonomous regions’ public finances. I have recommended to the Spanish Government that they start applying the new fiscal stability law on the autonomous regions without any delay, because that is clearly an area which creates uncertainty and reduces the credibility of public finances in Spain.

 
  
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  Pervenche Berès (S&D). - Ce que je constate, c'est que, à l'époque, M. Sarkozy et Mme Merkel voulaient diviser les socialistes en utilisant l'exemple de M. Zapatero contre d'autres exemples socialistes. Manifestement, la question n'est pas là. La question est de savoir si oui ou non on peut rétablir les finances publiques d'un pays sans croissance. La question n'est pas de savoir si c'est au niveau des régions ou de l'État central, la question c'est celle de la croissance créatrice d'emplois.

Monsieur le Commissaire, comment pensez-vous réussir cette recette en Grèce alors même que, au fond, du point de vue des travailleurs – et du point de vue des Grecs eux-mêmes –, ce que vous proposez c'est que les plans d'investissement soient réalisés par de grandes entreprises allemandes et que les Grecs bénéficient de la mobilité, ce qui revient à organiser la fuite des cerveaux.

Pensez-vous que c'est la bonne voie et ne constatez-vous pas qu'au fond il y a peut-être un moment où il faut accepter qu'il y ait eu une erreur?

 
  
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  Olli Rehn, Vice-President of the Commission. − Firstly, on the subject of Spain: it is indeed essential that the fiscal policy stance of Spain, as recommended by the Commission and the Eurogroup, strikes the right balance between the necessary consolidation of public finances and concerns about growth in the country.

We are currently reviewing the economic and fiscal policy figures and stance of the whole euro area. We will present our spring forecast on 11 May and on that basis will make proposals for the economic and fiscal policy stance of the whole euro area and individual countries. I can see that we need to have further differentiation among the countries, depending on the business cycle they are in and on the economic and growth conditions they are experiencing, but it is too early to say today because we do not yet have the figures from Eurostat upon which we will base the spring forecast that we will present in May.

As regards Greece, I would suggest that you attend the afternoon session at 3 p.m. when President Barroso will speak about Greece. We will adopt today, in our college meeting before 3 p.m., a communication on promoting growth and jobs in Greece, which is a very important document outlining ways and means in all policy areas and how we can enhance growth and job creation in Greece on the basis of the EU-IMF programme.

I would like to make one point concerning growth which is important because I know, Mrs Berès, that you are very concerned about this – as all of you and all of us are. I should like, if I may, to use my extra minute in this context because to my mind it is quite important. This point refers to the possibilities of reinforcing the capital base of the European Investment Bank.

With the EIB, the EU has a very powerful institution and instrument of its own for supporting growth and employment, not least in troubled times. The EIB, with a lending capacity several times the size of the World Bank, has been playing a key role in tackling the crisis since 2008, but it is reaching the limits of what it can do with its current capital base. To allow the EIB to do more for growth and jobs, its capital needs to be addressed and its capital base needs to be increased. In our view this should be done by its shareholders, in other words by the EU Member States. For instance, a capital increase of EUR 10 billion would allow the EIB to lend approximately EUR 60 billion, which in turn would attract other financing sources for a total investment of EUR 180 billion for new projects of infrastructure, innovation and so on.

In addition to this, the Commission and the EIB are currently looking at possible options for using the EU budget to leverage the EIB Group financing capacity through risk-sharing schemes, building on schemes already developed for research and innovation with project bonds for infrastructure as well as for small and medium-sized enterprises with the help of the Structural Funds.

So we are doing our part to look for innovative solutions to reinforce the lending capacity of the European Investment Bank. However, let me send a clear and constructive message to all EU Member States, which I trust Parliament can support. For the sake of sustainable growth and job creation we need more European cross-border and Community investment in infrastructure, energy and transport and in innovation, research and communications, and I therefore call on the EU Member States to provide, without any delay, additional capital to the European Investment Bank. I ask for your support for this very important objective.

 
  
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  Emilie Turunen (Verts/ALE). - You will definitely have that support, I think.

Commissioner Andor, sometimes the devil is in the detail, so please allow me to return to something very important that was raised by Mrs Regner and Mrs Schroedter that I do not think you answered sufficiently.

In Article 9 of the new Enforcement Directive – not in the directive as a whole but in Article 9 – there is a list of control measures that national authorities can use. There is also a small word preceding that list: it states that they can only use these control measures. This is a maximum list, an exhaustive list and a clear limitation.

So my question is, why do you want to make it an exhaustive list, and why do you not change the logic of the ECB instead of aligning with it when it comes to control measures?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − The Enforcement Directive recognises the importance of national control measures and inspections in guaranteeing applicable working conditions for posted workers. However, the freedom to provide services must also be respected.

The Court of Justice decided that certain national control measures were proportionate in view of companies’ freedom to provide services, while others were not. In order to provide for legal certainty, the Enforcement Directive indicates clearly which control measures are proportionate and justified. New European electronic tools will make cooperation between Member States’ enforcement bodies more rapid and efficient. This will facilitate and improve controls. I therefore believe that the provision to which you refer is in line with the agreed objective of this exercise, namely improving the interpretation and the implementation of the existing directive without reversing Court of Justice case law.

 
  
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  Emilie Turunen (Verts/ALE). - Well I think that we disagree on that interpretation, but we can probably discuss that in the future in a follow-up.

Another ambiguity in this proposal arises in connection with the principle of joint and several liability, a principle that the Greens very much support. One question is: how do you foresee the implementation of that in countries that have collective agreements and where wages are not set by law?

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − I believe that the joint and several liability does not interfere with the question of collective agreements. This is about how various companies engage in cooperation by means of subcontracting. It is actually a way to guarantee that what is involved in various labour contracts will be delivered, even if the economic activity takes place in the form of posting in a Member State other than the home of the given company.

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Παπανικολάου (PPE). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, κύριε Επίτροπε σας άκουσα με πολύ προσοχή και πράγματι είναι πολύ σημαντικό να υποστηρίξουμε την κινητικότητα των εργαζομένων που σκοπό έχει και την ενίσχυση των δεξιοτήτων ειδικά των νέων ανθρώπων. Είναι άλλο πράγμα, όμως, αυτή η πραγματικότητα και άλλο πράγμα η πραγματικότητα εκείνη που αναγκάζει νέους, σε κάποιες χώρες με σημαντικά προβλήματα, να εγκαταλείπουν τη χώρα τους γιατί η χώρα τους δεν προσφέρει καμία ευκαιρία για να εργαστούν, για να αναπτύξουν τη ζωή τους.

Είπατε ότι το μεσημέρι ο κ. Barosso θα μας κάνει ανακοινώσεις. Ο Πρόεδρος της Επιτροπής, όμως, τον περασμένο Δεκέμβριο έκανε επίσης μια ανακοίνωση όσον αφορά τις ευκαιρίες για τους νέους. Ανακοινώσατε και ομάδες δράσης για τους νέους. Δεν βλέπουμε όμως κάποια προστιθέμενη αξία αυτή την περίοδο - τους τέσσερις, πέντε τελευταίους μήνες που έχουν γίνει αυτές οι ανακοινώσεις. Ποιά είναι η προστιθέμενη αξία, κύριοι Επίτροποι, ποια είναι η συμβουλή σας στους νέους που αναζητούν προοπτική και ελπίδα; Να μείνουν στον τόπο τους, για παράδειγμα στην Ελλάδα, ή να φύγουν γιατί αυτή η περίοδος δεν επιτρέπει δυστυχώς την παροχή νέων ευκαιριών και νέων προοπτικών για τη νέα γενιά σε όλη την Ευρώπη. Πεντέμισι εκατομμύρια είναι οι άνεργοι σε όλη την Ευρώπη. Το ξέρετε καλύτερα από εμένα.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Emigration from the countries which felt the impact of the financial crisis is of course a problem, especially if this migration leads to other continents, because we very often find – in the case of Greece, and also Ireland and Portugal – that people prefer to go other continents, despite the geographical proximity of many vacancies in the countries in the more dynamic part of Europe.

That is why our efforts, including in the forthcoming employment package, are to make the European labour market more transparent and the jobs and vacancies that exist in Europe more accessible. This would also be done by developing the EURES programme, which helps with finding and understanding what opportunities exist in the European labour market.

There are practical developments. The action teams went to Athens as well as to the other seven capitals. They came back with concrete findings. We had an opportunity in Brussels to hold discussions with Prime Minister Papademos. I also went to Athens at the end of March and held discussions with several members of the government. For example, there are very practical opportunities now to develop not just training and apprenticeships but also a new programme for start-ups, which I discussed with Minister Diamantopoulou, and also to develop the social economy, which I discussed with Minister Koutroumanis.

These are just examples of how refocusing the use of the Structural Funds – the ESF in particular but not only the ESF – can very directly, concretely and urgently help the young people who are now unemployed or who just want to find new opportunities inside Greece.

 
  
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  Γεώργιος Παπανικολάου (PPE). - Κύριε Πρόεδρε, κύριε Επίτροπε, το μοναδικό σημείο που θα επιθυμούσα να κατανοήσω είναι το εξής, διότι ήταν πολύ συγκεκριμένα αυτά που αναφέρατε. Υπενθυμίζω, όμως, ότι στην Ελλάδα βρισκόμαστε σε προεκλογική περίοδο, έχουμε εκλογές σε είκοσι ημέρες, και όλοι έχουν την εξής απορία: γιατί αυτά τα εργαλεία που τώρα μας περιγράψατε δεν τα εφαρμόσαμε τα τελευταία δύο, δυόμισι χρόνια.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. − Very serious work has been undertaken in the recent period. Greece has been lagging behind with the implementation of the Structural Funds, and a lot of progress has been made over the last year regarding the Social Fund, for example, not least because of the contribution of the task force which the Commission sent to Greece. I agree with you that this could have helped earlier. There was only about a 12% or 13% implementation rate up to next June and now it is about double that. So a lot of progress has been made, but of course we cannot change the situation overnight.

 
  
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  President. − My thanks to the Commission and to colleagues. My apologies to those who were not called.

That concludes Question Time.

 
  
  

ΠΡΟΕΔΡΙΑ: ΑΝΝΥ ΠΟΔΗΜΑΤΑ
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Posledná úprava: 20. mája 2012Právne oznámenie