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Procedure : 2016/3042(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0179/2017

Texts tabled :

B8-0179/2017

Debates :

Votes :

PV 15/03/2017 - 9.6

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0083

Texts adopted
PDF 269k
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 - Strasbourg Provisional edition
Obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the Internal Market
P8_TA-PROV(2017)0083B8-0179/2017

European Parliament resolution of 15 March 2017 on obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the internal market (2016/3042(RSP))

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to Article 3(2) of the Treaty on European Union (TEU),

–  having regard to Titles IV and V and Articles 4(2)(a), 20, 21, 26, 45-48 and 153 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU),

–  having regard to Articles 5(2), 30, 31 and 47 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems(1) ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems(2) ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union(3) ,

–  having regard to Regulation (EU) 2016/589 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 April 2016 on a European network of employment services (EURES), workers’ access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets, and amending Regulations (EU) No 492/2011 and (EU) No 1296/2013(4) ,

–  having regard to Directive 96/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 1996 concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services(5) ,

–  having regard to Directive 2004/38/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States amending Regulation (EEC) No 1612/68 and repealing Directives 64/221/EEC, 68/360/EEC, 72/194/EEC, 73/148/EEC, 75/34/EEC, 75/35/EEC, 90/364/EEC, 90/365/EEC and 93/96/EEC(6) ,

–  having regard to Directive 2005/36/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 September 2005 on the recognition of professional qualifications(7) ,

–  having regard to Directive 2011/24/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare(8) ,

–  having regard to Directive 2013/55/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 November 2013 amending Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications and Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (‘the IMI Regulation’)(9) ,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/54/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on measures facilitating the exercise of rights conferred on workers in the context of freedom of movement for workers(10) ,

–  having regard to Directive 2014/67/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the enforcement of Directive 96/71/EC concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services and amending Regulation (EU) No 1024/2012 on administrative cooperation through the Internal Market Information System (‘the IMI Regulation’)(11) ,

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2009 on guidance for better transposition and application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States (COM(2009)0313),

–  having regard to the Commission communication of 25 November 2013 entitled ‘Free movement of EU citizens and their families: Five actions to make a difference’ (COM(2013)0837),

–  having regard to the 2017 EU Citizenship Report of 24 January 2017, entitled ‘Strengthening Citizens’ Rights in a Union of Democratic Change’ (COM(2017)0030),

–  having regard to its resolution of 15 December 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the European Union(12) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 14 January 2014 on social protection for all, including self-employed workers(13) ,

–  having regard to its resolution of 16 January 2014 on respect for the fundamental right of free movement in the EU(14) ,

–  having regard to Rule 216(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas the Committee on Petitions has received several petitions raising concerns about the different obstacles encountered by EU citizens in exercising their freedom of movement;

B.  whereas the non-recognition by some Member States of LGBTI marriage or legal union can be an obstacle to the freedom of movement in the Union of these people and their partners, preventing them from accessing some social benefits or public services in those countries;

C.  whereas a hearing on obstacles to EU citizens’ freedom to move and work in the internal market, as presented by petitioners, was held in the Committee on Petitions meeting of 11 October 2016;

D.  whereas freedom of movement constitutes a fundamental right of EU citizens and is essential for the social and economic cohesion within the Union, aimed at ensuring full employment and social progress;

E.  whereas this freedom of movement for workers has been violated by several Member States, a point raised by several petitioners; whereas mobile EU citizens sometimes avoid accessing health services for fear of expulsion, which effectively limits their fundamental right of access to healthcare;

F.  whereas the economic crisis and the measures to combat it have increased socioeconomic inequalities and the number of economic migrations within the EU; whereas this ought to be duly taken into account and specific coordinative measures established by both the home and host Member States and the EU institutions concerned;

G.  whereas the mobility of workers in the EU can be a challenge to national labour markets, which requires targeted solutions, but it can also contribute to making them fairer, provided that the fundamental rights of workers are fully protected;

H.  whereas Member States and the EU institutions share the responsibility for making the principles of free movement work to the benefit of citizens, growth, economic and social development and employment and for ensuring more effective transposition and implementation of the relevant EU legal framework;

I.  whereas in some instances the social security of mobile EU workers and their families is marked by inequalities and contingencies;

J.  whereas social security rights should be enjoyed without discrimination against permanent, seasonal or cross-border workers and by those who pursue their activities for the purpose of providing services;

K.  whereas using promissory notes in employment relationships may lead to an unfair and discriminatory situation for workers and impede them from enjoying their right to freedom of movement in the internal market;

L.  whereas petitioners are concerned about the lack of broadband connectivity, especially in remote, rural and mountainous areas, and the mismatches between advertised and actual broadband speeds, which impinges on the level of consumer protection in the internal market and creates obstacles to the access of information and services;

1.  Calls on the Member States, in compliance with the subsidiarity principle, to remove any discriminatory practices and unnecessary barriers from their rules for EU citizens and their family members, including non-EU family members, so that they benefit from the entry and residence rights in their territories, as well as from their social rights, while making their administration more efficient with a view to facilitating labour mobility in the EU;

2.  Expresses its deepest concern at the practice by some Member States, in breach of the principle of freedom of movement of workers, of expelling European citizens who have been employed there shortly after the expiration of their employment contract;

3.  Calls on the Commission to clarify, update and expand its guidance for better transposition and application of Directive 2004/38/EC in order to notably include the recent rulings from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (Cases C-456/12(15) and C-457/12(16) ); recommends the use of the transposition implementation plans (TIPS) to ensure complete and proper application;

4.  Stresses the principle of equal pay for equal work, and deplores the fact that some Member States deny social protection to EU non-national workers; urges the Member States to comply with current EU legislation and the fundamental principles of labour law in order to protect all EU workers; calls for existing conditions to be better defined to allow EU citizens and third-country-national family members to benefit from their social rights;

5.  Welcomes the creation of the Electronic Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI), which helps social security bodies across the EU exchange information faster and more securely; calls for the Member States to improve their technological capacity to adapt to the new type of information exchange; calls for the possibilities for fostering cross-national collective agreements and the creation of European platforms promoting good practices to be assessed;

6.  Calls on the Member States to establish single national websites as provided for in Directive 2014/67/EU; calls on the Commission and the Member States to improve their guidance and counselling activities to further strengthen citizens’ freedom to move, work and study in other Member States and to raise public awareness; calls on the Commission to improve the effectiveness of tools created to offer information on job and learning opportunities across the EU, such as EURES and PLOTEUS, and to further raise public awareness about them; takes note of the new EURES Regulation (Regulation (EU) 2016/589), aimed at making EURES an effective employment tool through fair intra-EU labour mobility; stresses that better consular assistance and cooperation helps raise awareness of individuals’ personal status and protect the fundamental rights of mobile workers or students, and facilitates their smooth integration in the host Member State;

7.  Invites the Member States to deliver clear guidelines and proper training for the civil servants and administrative employees involved in the implementation of the social rights of EU and non-EU citizens, workers and their family members legally residing in the EU;

8.  Calls for the SOLVIT service to be enhanced, for instance with the creation of a helpline, and for the reinforcement of any other competent authorities to which EU citizens can address their specific inquiries concerning the internal market, to allow them and their family members to receive timely information and support when facing barriers in exercising their right to free movement;

9.  Calls for improvements in the collection and processing of statistical data on the number of citizens using the portability of their social rights from one Member State to another in order to further improve coordination between Member States and reinforce EU citizens’ rights with policy solutions to achieve higher levels of social protection;

10.  Calls for better harmonisation of the interpretation of ‘habitual residence’;

11.  Deplores the fact that the failure to aggregate social security entitlements creates barriers for EU residents, and calls on the Member States to fully and effectively implement Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems and Regulation (EC) No 987/2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems in order to ensure the portability of social security benefits (e.g. state pensions, health insurance, unemployment benefits and family benefits) and consequently reduce barriers to labour mobility in the EU; calls for resolute effective steps towards a coordinated system of aggregated social contributions and benefits for every individual across the EU, such as a social security card aimed at facilitating the traceability of social security contributions and entitlements(17) ;

12.  Calls on the Member States to implement as a matter of urgency the European Disability Card, which would facilitate the travel and movement of persons with disabilities from one Member State to another;

13.  Deplores the exclusion of EU citizens from another Member State’s national public health system, as it is a right defined in Directive 2011/24/EU on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, in Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems and in the related CJEU case law(18) ;

14.  Asks for better coordination in the EU taxation framework in order to eliminate double taxation, among other relevant issues such as preventing fiscal dumping;

15.  Notes the increasing number of cross-border child-custody matters, stemming from the free movement of people; calls for greater consular and judicial cooperation on child-custody cases among Member States; welcomes the ongoing revision of the Brussels IIa Regulation;

16.  Condemns the practice of using blank promissory notes in employment relationships, which enables employers to claim potential damages more easily and avoid lengthy litigation in labour courts, while reversing the burden of proof as regards guilt and the amount of the damage; stresses that these blank promissory notes impede citizens from enjoying their right of freedom of movement in the internal market; calls on the Member States to adopt legislation prohibiting the use of blank promissory notes in employment relationships across the EU; urges the Commission to issue a recommendation to Member States on the need for the use of blank promissory notes in employment relationships to be strictly prohibited;

17.  Is concerned about the difficulties encountered by petitioners in getting their professional qualifications recognised across Europe; calls for further standardisation of academic titles and continuous education diplomas by Member States, systemic use of the Internal Market Information System (IMI) to ensure better administrative cooperation and simpler and faster procedures for the recognition of professional qualifications and of continuous professional development requirements needed by qualified professionals planning to work in another Member State, avoiding any kind of discrimination, in line with the settled case-law of the Court of Justice, while respecting the requirements of the host country in full compliance with Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications;

18.  Is convinced that mobility should be coordinated in a broad regulatory process aimed at guaranteeing stable quality jobs with effective social rights, effectively tackling all forms of discrimination and precariousness;

19.  Believes that the EU and its Member States must successfully address the lack of employment opportunities and inadequate social protection in workers’ home regions to ensure that mobility is voluntary;

20.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the effective monitoring and implementation of the Telecoms Single Market Regulation, which will include provisions for customers to be informed about the minimum, normally available, maximum and advertised broadband speeds; supports awareness-raising campaigns in this regard that aim at eradicating misleading advertisements;

21.  Calls on the Member States to fully implement Directive 2011/24/EU on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare and to ensure efficient and timely reimbursement of cross-border healthcare, including the reimbursement of medicines that could constitute a means of arbitrary discrimination or an unjustified obstacle to free movement;

22.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 1.
(2) OJ L 284, 30.10.2009, p. 1.
(3) OJ L 141, 27.5.2011, p. 1.
(4) OJ L 107, 22.4.2016, p. 1.
(5) OJ L 18, 21.1.1997, p. 1.
(6) OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, p. 77.
(7) OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 22.
(8) OJ L 88, 4.4.2011, p. 45.
(9) OJ L 354, 28.12.2013, p. 132.
(10) OJ L 128, 30.4.2014, p. 8.
(11) OJ L 159, 28.5.2014, p. 11.
(12) OJ C 168 E, 14.6.2013, p. 88.
(13) OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 48.
(14) OJ C 482, 23.12.2016, p. 114.
(15) Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 12 March 2014, O. v Minister voor Immigratie, Integratie en Asiel and Minister voor Immigratie, Integratie en Asiel v B. , ECLI:EU:C:2014:135.
(16) Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 12 March 2014, S. v Minister voor Immigratie, Integratie en Asiel and Minister voor Immigratie, Integratie en Asiel v G. , ECLI:EU:C:2014:136.
(17) Pilot Project: Social security card (2016_04.037717_3) implemented in 2016 and early 2017 through the feasibility study on a ‘European mobility portal on social security – Social security at your fingertips’.
(18) E.g.: Judgment of the Court of 28 April 1998, Kohll v Union des caisses de maladie, C-158/96, ECLI:EU:C:1998:171; Judgment of the Court of 28 April 1998, Decker v Union des caisses de maladie , C-120/95, ECLI:EU:C:1998:167; or Judgment of the Court (Grand Chamber) of 12 April 2005, Heirs of Annette Keller v Instituto Nacional de la Seguridad Social (INSS) and Instituto Nacional de Gestión Sanitaria (Ingesa) , Case C-145/03, ECLI:EU:C:2005:211.

Last updated: 16 March 2017Legal notice