Procedure : 2008/2098(INI)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A6-0463/2008

Texts tabled :

A6-0463/2008

Debates :

Votes :

PV 18/12/2008 - 6.9
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2008)0624

REPORT     
PDF 171kWORD 173k
24.11.2008
PE 409.373v02-00 A6-0463/2008

on the European Job Mobility Action Plan(2007-2010)

(2008/2098(INI))

Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

Rapporteur: Monica Maria Iacob-Ridzi

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education
 OPINION of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality
 OPINION of the Committee on Petitions
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on the European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)

(2008/2098(INI))

The European Parliament,

–    having regard to the Treaty establishing the European Community, and in particular Articles 18, 136, 145, 149 and 150 thereof,

–    having regard to the Commission communication of 6 December 2007 entitled 'Mobility, an instrument for more and better jobs: the European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010))' (COM(2007)0773),

 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(1),

 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(2),

 having regard to Decision 2241/2004/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 December 2004 on a single Community framework for the transparency of qualifications and competences (Europass)(3),

 having regard to Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 of 14 June 1971 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community(4),

 having regard to Council Regulation (EEC) No 574/72 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 on the application of social security schemes to employed persons, to self-employed persons and to members of their families moving within the Community(5), as last amended by Regulation (ΕC) No 311/2007 of 19 March 2007,

 having regard to the Commission communication of 27 June 2007 entitled 'Towards common principles of flexicurity: more and better jobs through flexibility and security' (COM(2007)0359),

 having regard to the final report of 25 January 2007 on the implementation of the Commission's action plan for skills and mobility (COM(2007)0024),

 having regard to the Commission communication of 13 February 2002 on the action plan for skills and mobility (COM(2002)0072),

 having regard to the OECD's economic study of 2007, and in particular chapter 8 thereof on removing obstacles to the geographical mobility of the workforce,

 having regard to the Commission proposal for a Council Recommendation on the mobility of young volunteers across Europe (COM(2008)0424),

 having regard to the EURES Guideline for 2007-2010 adopted in June 2006,

 having regard to the EURES activity report for 2004-2005 presented by the Commission on 16 March 2007 under the title 'Towards a single European labour market: the contribution of EURES' (COM(2007)0116),

 having regard to its resolution of 5 September 2007, adopted following oral question B6‑0136/2007 on the EURES activity report for 2004-2005 entitled 'Towards a single European labour market'(6),

 having regard to the resolution of the Council and of the representatives of the governments of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 14 December 2004 concerning an action plan for mobility(7),

–    having regard to its resolution of 23 May 2007 on promoting decent work for all(8),

–    having regard to the Commission communication of 2 July 2008 entitled 'Renewed Social Agenda: opportunities, access and solidarity in 21st century Europe' (COM(2008)0412),

–    having regard to the Eurobarometer survey of 2006 according to which the citizens of Europe regard mobility as being of growing importance,

–    having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–    having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Culture and Education, the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on Petitions (A6-0463/2008),

A.  whereas freedom of movement and freedom of establishment are rights laid down in Articles 18 and 43 of the EC Treaty and in Articles 149 and 150 on education and training,

B.   whereas worker mobility is a key instrument for the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy objectives but still remains low in the EU, even among women,

C.  whereas the EU-wide mobility with security for workers is one of the fundamental rights of Union citizens under the Treaty, as well as one of the basic pillars of the European social model, and is also one of the principal means of attaining the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy,

D.  whereas Community legislation on the coordination and implementation of social security schemes should, if necessary, be adapted to reflect new forms of mobility and to ensure that EU migrant workers do not face a loss of social security protection,

E.   whereas about 2% of citizens of working age currently live and work in a Member State other than their own and whereas some 48% of all EU migrants are women,

F.    whereas the Commission has set up a High Level Expert Forum on increasing mobility for Europeans, with the principal objective of identifying measures to stimulate youth mobility, develop aid for mobility in the training context, and improve mobility for artists, managers and volunteers,

G.  whereas the issue of mobility is an important element in the Renewed Social Agenda, the Agenda determining the opportunities for it and imposing the principles of access and solidarity,

H.  whereas the dynamic labour market poses serious challenges to workers and especially to women with children, forcing them to make compromises between professional and family life,

I.    whereas the insufficient adaptation of social security schemes in the Member States creates difficulties for women, with regard for example to pregnancy, child raising and career opportunities,

J.    whereas the free movement of workers has been and remains one of the four fundamental freedoms enshrined in the Treaty; whereas as regards ensuring the free movement of workers significant progress has been made in Community legislation in the field of social security and this has facilitated the movement of workers within the Union; whereas any remaining administrative and legal barriers hindering transnational mobility must be removed; whereas more must be done to ensure that workers know their rights and can assert them,

K.  whereas, since ensuring mobility entails facilitating matters across the entire range of needs and activities of workers and their families, Parliament has in numerous resolutions drawn attention to the obstacles to mobility and to the right of Union citizens to reside outside their Member State of origin, and has proposed possible means of removing such obstacles,

L.   whereas experience has shown that identifying obstacles and advancing proposals has not sufficed for the complete removal of the obstacles to freedom of movement and mobility; whereas the problem has in the past been the subject of numerous texts of the EU institutions which have spelt out the problems and have proposed corrective measures which have, however, not always been implemented,

M.  whereas Parliament has noted in these cases that willingness to implement the necessary measures does not always extend to measures which are important to the citizens in terms of eliminating administrative or legal barriers to mobility,

N.  whereas Parliament has on numerous occasions expressed its position on this issue directly affecting the lives of Union citizens, and will, in its capacity as an institution directly and democratically elected by the citizens, continue actively to seek solutions to all problems encountered by citizens in exercising their right to mobility within the territory of the EU,

O.  whereas the sense of Union citizenship of the nationals of the Member States draws its strength partly from the possibility of employment elsewhere within the internal market and whereas therefore not only economic interests should be the driving force behind mobility but also the objective of enabling Union citizens to identify themselves more readily as such,

1.   Welcomes the Commission’s initiative, and reaffirms the crucial importance of mobility, both within the labour market and between Member States and regions, for consolidating the EU labour market and attaining the Lisbon objectives; supports the launch of the Action Plan, and wishes to be informed regularly about the monitoring of the implementation of the measures contained in it;

2.   Welcomes the Commission's intention to promote mobility on fair conditions, including by opposing clandestine employment and social dumping;

3.   Welcomes the Commission's proposal for a Council Recommendation on the mobility of young volunteers across Europe, however regrets the fact that the Commission has not provided adequate time for Parliament to issue an opinion on the proposal before the recommendation is adopted;

4.   Notes that a European Year of Volunteering would be an effective tool in implementing the actions contained within the Council Recommendation on the mobility of young volunteers across Europe;

5.   Considers that the EU needs to support the inclusion of the concept of labour mobility in all Community policies, especially those concerning the completion of the internal market, the protection of workers, rules concerning posted workers and protection against non-secure work, which may affect mobility within the EU or combat discrimination; calls on the Commission to treat labour mobility as a priority transversal policy, involving all relevant EU policy areas and all levels of authority in the Member States;

6.   Stresses that labour mobility is based on the fundamental principle of the free movement of persons within the internal market as laid down in the EC Treaty;

7.   Calls upon the Commission, in order to further promote labour mobility, to draw up a long-term mobility strategy which takes into account the requirements of the labour market, economic trends and the prospects for enlargement of the EU, as only a long-term strategy can both guarantee free movement of workers without conflict and properly address brain-drain;

8.   Calls on the Commission to take into account the specific needs of female workers wishing to exercise freedom of movement of all ages and to include concrete steps to meet their needs in the four areas of the European Job Mobility Action Plan;

9.   Urges the Commission to prioritise the streamlining of administrative practices and administrative cooperation so as to allow synergies to develop between national institutions and authorities whose interaction is decisive when trying to resolve problems between Member States efficiently; in addition, considers that Member States should vigorously tackle all legal and administrative barriers and obstacles to geographical mobility at European, national, regional and local levels, such as the non-recognition of mobility-related experiences for career prospects or social security and pensions, particularly within small and medium-sized enterprises;

10. Considers that, while the Commission’s Action Plan covers the main issues relating to mobility, much more action still needs to be taken, notably creating stronger links between education systems and the labour market, providing proper information on mobility, maintaining acquired linguistic abilities for workers and their families preparing for mobility via the teaching of foreign languages and, not least, in vocational training and learning systems;

11.  Calls on the Member States actively to promote foreign language teaching (especially for adults), given that linguistic barriers are among the main remaining obstacles to the mobility of workers and their families;

12. Considers that the Member States should ensure that the labour rights and collective agreements of citizens who choose to move to another Member State are fully respected, without discrimination between nationals of that Member State and non-nationals believes that, to that end, the Commission's measures should focus on ensuring that migrant citizens receive equal treatment and are not turned into a cheap labour force;

13. With a view to creating stronger links between training and the labour market, urges the Commission and the Member States to bring this matter before the sectoral consultation committees; considers that industry and the trades could provide regular information about the occupational fields most open to mobility;

14. Considers that long-term labour mobility in all fields can play a key role in promoting the growth and employment objectives of the Lisbon Strategy if combined with safeguarding workers' social security and trade union rights, in accordance with the traditions and customs of the Member States; believes that an expanded, EU-wide mobile workforce, in combination with appropriate working conditions, education programmes and social protection schemes, can constitute a response to such current developments and can significantly enhance efforts to do so in the context of the challenges of the global economy, an ageing population and rapid change in the workplace; emphasises that the social, economic and environmental aspects of mobility must be taken into account;

15. Is convinced that guaranteed labour mobility is a means of consolidating the Lisbon Strategy’s economic and social dimensions and should be set up in the best possible way, achieving the objectives of the renewed social agenda, and tackling a range of challenges including globalisation, restructuring industrial change, technological progress, population trends and the integration of migrant workers; is also convinced that mobility between careers and industries (occupational mobility) enables employees to renew and adapt their knowledge and skills and thus exploit new career opportunities;

16. Reiterates that labour mobility is a key instrument for the efficient working of the internal market, via the objectives of the Lisbon Strategy and the eight principles proposed on 'flexicurity' in the Commission communication of 27 June 2007 (COM(2007)0359); calls, therefore, on the Member States to take appropriate measures to emphasise flexicurity on the one hand and to protect workers' security on the other, bearing in mind the fundamental principles of opportunities, access and solidarity referred to in the renewed social agenda;

17.     Calls on the Member States and stakeholders to consider and remove the obstacles to the mobility of women workers, by providing, among other things, fair access to qualified jobs and high-level positions, equal pay, flexible working conditions, adequate healthcare and childcare services, good quality education facilities for children, portable pension rights, and ensuring the elimination of gender stereotypes;

18. Recommends that Member States and regional and local authorities actively promote special employment, training, educational, distance learning and language programmes to create a more women-friendly labour market and to enable the reconciliation of professional and family life;

19. Calls on the Member States to include both labour and geographical mobility as a priority in their national employment and lifelong learning programmes;

20.  Notes with concern that some Member States are maintaining labour market restrictions on workers from the new Member States, despite the fact that economic analyses and statistical data neither justify these restrictions nor support the fears of their citizens and governments; calls on the Council to ensure greater involvement and closer monitoring on the part of the EU institutions, especially the Parliament, with regard to the process of authorisation and justification by Member States of the transitional periods for access to their labour markets for the citizens of the new Member States, including from the first year of membership;

21. Stresses that the mobility of workers should not be construed by some employers as an opportunity to reduce wages, cut back social security or, in general, to downgrade working conditions; urges the Member States to take appropriate measures not only to eliminate all forms of discrimination but also to ensure the best possible conditions for the activities of migrant workers and their families;

22. Notes with concern certain moves by Member States to alter their internal legal frameworks for immigration and interpret and apply the principle of the free movement of labour in a manner that is contrary to the letter and spirit of the Community rules in force; calls for an immediate end to such practices, and encourages the Member States to introduce comprehensive schemes for the integration of Union citizens exercising their right of free movement on their territory, where appropriate, in cooperation with the Member States of origin;

23. Calls on the Member States and the Commission to work together in order to draw up, implement, monitor and evaluate a programme of social reintegration for citizens and their families returning to their Member State of origin after a period spent working in another;

24. Acknowledges that, while mobility can provide a solution to labour shortages in the receiving countries, it may cause labour shortages in the countries from which workers come; draws the attention of the Commission and Member States to the fact that, in every country, the inactive population offers a significant labour potential, whose mobilisation requires EU and Member-State resources in equal measure;

25. Draws the Commission's attention to the fact that there remain within the EU a large number of administrative and legislative barriers to labour mobility and to the mutual recognition of qualifications of every level and professional experience; reaffirms its commitment to a solution to these problems, and calls on the Commission to undertake close monitoring of restrictions incompatible with Community law, and to take action against them;

26. Encourages the Member States to carry out, prior to the implementation of new national laws in the field of care and public health and social and fiscal systems, a border impact study to highlight in advance any problems that will have consequences for labour mobility;

27. Takes the view that border workers occupy a special position in the area of European labour mobility;

28. Encourages the Member States to speed up the implementation of the common framework for qualifications (European Qualifications Framework-EQF); considers that, while alignment with this reference system is due in 2010, its accelerated implementation in all Member States could reduce the obstacles currently facing workers;

29. Welcomes the Commission's initiative with regard to EUNetPaS, which is a first step in encouraging Member States and EU stakeholders to enhance collaboration in the field of patient safety; however notes that, throughout the EU, there is still diversity in the regulation of healthcare professionals and calls on the Commission to encourage Member States and their regulatory authorities for healthcare professionals to share information and establish standardised accreditation systems for healthcare professionals in order to ensure patient safety throughout the EU;

30. Notes that the lack of a common framework for comparing, transferring and recognising vocational qualifications at EU level is a serious barrier to transnational mobility; welcomes the Commission's initiative on the establishment of the European Credit System for Vocational Education and Training (ECVET);

31. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that employers and trade representatives become involved as quickly as possible in implementing the EQF and hence that the system for the recognition of qualifications can take effect on the labour market;

32. Calls on the Commission, the Member States, and the two sides of industry to open discussions with a view to harmonising salary scales with the different levels of qualifications laid down in the EQF so as to enable labour mobility to be guaranteed by virtue of wage levels corresponding to workers’ skills; 

33. Encourages educational authorities to work together pro-actively on the mutual recognition of qualifications – gained from formal, informal and non-formal education – and professions which correspond to the standards set by Member States; considers it crucial that Member States make full use of the EQF and give appropriate follow-up to forthcoming initiatives on the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training, so that classification in the levels of the national educational system and of the Lifelong Learning programme allows mobile workers to continue their training; endorses the Commission's commitment to developing Europass in order to make qualifications more readable for employers; stresses the value of the Euraxess Services;

34. Regrets that in some Member States insufficient priority is being given and insufficient funding is being dedicated to developing and implementing lifelong learning strategies; encourages Memberstates to use financing available from the Structural Funds, and in particular from European Social Fund move actively in order to develop and implement such schemes;

35. Calls on the Commission to reduce legislative and administrative obstacles, and stresses the need for further progress in recognition and cumulation of social security entitlements and in the portability of pensions;

36. Takes the view that the portability of social security provisions is better coordinated on the basis of Regulations (EEC) No 1408/71 and (EC) No 883/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the coordination of social security systems(9), and bilateral agreements;

37. Urges the Member States to implement fully Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 and Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 (applicable from 2009), as well as related legislation on social security matters and the payment of allowances of any kind; calls on the Member States and the Commission to urgently address the recurring problems raised in petitions and complaints concerning social security, pensions, and health care; supports the Commission's plans for the introduction of an electronic version of the European health insurance card; suggests that there should also be an electric revision of form "E106";

38. Calls on the Commission to review its visa policy for third country participants in recognised EU volunteer programmes, with a view to introducing a more liberal visa regime especially for volunteers from countries neighbouring the EU;

39. With regard to the new forms of mobility, considers it necessary to examine existing legislation with a view to determining if it is still up-to-date and finding appropriate means of adapting it to the new flexible conditions on the European labour market, taking account not only of the need to safeguard workers' rights but also examining additional problems which migrant workers and their families might face; believes, at the same time, that an analysis needs to be made of the real extent of implementation in all Member States of the Community legislation on the free movement of labour and the right of residence of workers and their families; considers that, where relevant, recommendations should be drawn up for improving the legislative and operational framework;

40. Advocates a discussion on social security arrangements, inter alia with reference to access to health care and the fact that workforce mobility can, in some cases, lead to the loss of social security benefits; calls on the Commission to examine whether Regulation (EC) No 883/2004, implementing Regulation (EEC) No 574/72 and related administrative practices need adapting to respond to changing patterns and new forms of worker mobility, including short-term labour mobility;

41. Considers that the Commission should investigate the mobility-inhibiting effects that arise as a result of the lack of coordination between tax agreements and the new social security regulation (Regulation (EC) No 883/2004);

42. Supports the Commission in its plans for action to improve its proposal for a directive on minimum requirements for enhancing worker mobility by improving the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights, because, with the increasing expansion of occupational pension schemes, worker-friendly rules on portability must be sought; accordingly calls on the Commission to submit a revised proposal for a directive on the portability of occupational pensions;

43. Considers that mobility of workers of both genders with families (meaning children and dependent relatives) depends to a great extent on the availability and affordability of services (such as child care and care for senior citizens, education facilities, day centres, special services); considers, at the same time, that job mobility should promote personal fulfilment and improve quality of life and work;

44. Considers, however, that the proposal for improving exchanges of information and best practice between national authorities, as well as that concerning an electronic version of the European health insurance card should be implemented with due protection of data: Member States must guarantee that personal data are not used for purposes other than those relating to social security, except where the party concerned expressly allows it; requests further information on this initiative and how it can enhance workforce mobility; calls on the Commission to examine and contribute to the possibility of creating, in the near future, a single European card including all information relating to the contributions paid by and the social rights of the individual concerned in all Member States where that person has worked;

45. Supports the actions of the TRESS network, and believes that it should undertake an ongoing investigation of the different types of mobility, with a view to adapting them to Community legislation; calls on the Commission to include employers and trade unions in this network, recalling that it is often employers who support workers over legal issues relating to social insurance or obtaining documents needed in order to work; stresses that the EURES databases need to be easy to access and must be updated regularly and that the widest possible access to them must be ensured; considers that the Network on Free Movement within the European Union should collaborate structurally and institutionally with the TRESS network;

46. Expresses its ongoing support for the contribution of the EURES network to facilitating workforce mobility in the EU; recommends that EURES services should include information on specific internet networks and portals for particular sectors, and that it should also cooperate with other information providers, especially specialist bodies in the Member States, with regard to job opportunities in the Union and with particular reference to national labour authorities, which can directly provide individually tailored advice to job-seekers;

47. Considers that EURES crossborder projects should give priority to carrying out border impact studies and seminars, so that the entry into force of Regulation No 883/2004 on coordination can take place effectively and efficiently;

48. Supports the objectives announced in the third section of the Action Plan for Work Mobility, in line with the enhancement of the institutional capabilities of EURES; stresses the diverse make-up of the workforce and the need for services adapted to all categories of worker, over and above those listed in the Commission programme, namely older and disabled people who are disadvantaged but can be exploited by the labour market, those who possess special legal status in comparison with other workers, the self-employed, workers returning to employment after a break from work, and so on; stresses that all the information available through the EURES network should be accessible to disabled people;

49. Calls upon Member States, through their employment authorities, in order to increase mobility, to provide a one-stop shop for all workers, including those intending to work abroad, so that they can obtain information from a single source concerning the possibilities of working abroad, administrative factors, social rights and legal conditions;

50. Supports the idea of transforming EURES into a one-stop mobility information portal which would operate as a centralised helpdesk where potentially mobile workers can obtain information about all aspects of job mobility – not only about job vacancies, social security, health care, pensions and the recognition of qualifications, but also about language issues, housing, employment for spouses, education for children and integration in general in the target state; points out that, where appropriate, it should be expanded to the benefit of third-country nationals, including those who have not yet acquired long-term resident status;

51. Fully endorses the existing information mechanisms but at the same time suggests that all relevant sites, portals, etc. be checked in terms of efficiency and, if necessary, reorganised, harmonised or regrouped so as to make them more user-friendly;

52. Draws attention to the issue of access to the EURES network for citizens living in rural, island, mountain and remote regions; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that the information on this portal is also made accessible to these population groups;

53. Considers that the supplementary budget of EUR 2 million allocated to innovative mobility projects up to 2013 is too low, given the need to inform as many Union citizens as possible about labour mobility in the Union and the objectives set out in the various programme documents in support of labour mobility in the Union;

54. Underlines the need for comparable and reliable statistics on the mobility flows of workers, students, teachers and researchers in order to improve the Commission's knowledge of mobility, as well as its monitoring of the above-mentioned Action Plan;

55. Believes that as things stand there is an information deficit as regards the potential professional and career benefits of spending time working abroad and regarding the employment and social-security conditions for working abroad and how this also promotes European cultural integration; supports the Commission in its actions to inform the public on the matter;

56. Points to Parliament's programme of traineeships for people with disabilities, which started in 2007, and the Commission's programme of traineeships for people with disabilities, which will start in the autumn of 2008; considers that such positive measures promote the mobility of people with disabilities and can make a significant contribution towards getting them into work; calls on the Member States to support and promote corresponding best practice at national, regional and local levels;

57. Draws attention to the fact that Member States should promote and exchange good practice and mutual learning schemes for mobility actions, financed by the cohesion fund, and especially the European Social Fund;

58. Considers that, in addition to online services, supplementary means of supplying information should be explored and put in place in the Member States and in the regions of the EU with a view to the widespread distribution of information on job mobility within Member States; considers that a job mobility call centre related to EURES should be put in place with a view to promptly providing workers with information on specific questions in the national language and at least in a second European language;

59. Expresses its ongoing support for such actions as job fairs, European days for publicising work opportunities throughout the Union, or European partnerships for labour mobility; considers, however, that the budget allocated to such actions is not high enough in relation to the goals of publicising the EU's action in this field;

60. Stresses the need to distinguish the specific mobility of artists from that of workers in the Union in general, in terms of the nature of the performing arts and the irregularity and unpredictability resulting from a particular employment regime;

61. Is aware of the specific nature of certain occupations, such as those in the cultural and sporting fields, for which mobility, be it geographical or between jobs, is an inherent characteristic; calls on the Commission and the Member States to examine these circumstances attentively and to apply the necessary measures, especially with respect to the labour rights of workers in these fields, in order to ensure that their mobility is not impeded by administrative measures;

62. Welcomes the fact that the Commission is also taking measures in its Action Plan to improve the situation of third country citizens; recommends that an integrated labour mobility policy should always take into account the migration of third-country citizens;

63. Stresses the need for close cooperation between national administrations in order to identify and eliminate iniquities in the fields of justice and taxation while respecting national competencies;

64. Considers it essential to raise awareness of the possibilities for submitting complaints and petitions about obstacles to job mobility and infringements of relevant Community legislation;

65. Supports and encourages implementation of the concept of equitable mobility, and calls on the Commission to ensure its application, for example by involving workers' and employers' organisations in order to prevent undeclared work and the downgrading of working conditions;

66. Calls on firms to support worker mobility, for example through flexible working hours and tele-working;

67. Calls upon the Commission to seek instruments by means of which to eliminate the complex obstacles which can prevent workers from opting to work abroad, such as difficulty in finding work for one's partner or spouse, high relocation costs, language barriers and the gender pay gap and the risk of losing tax advantages or no longer being able to contribute to national pension, health insurance or unemployment insurance schemes; stresses the importance of lifelong learning, with particular reference to the importance of language learning, which is essential in order to meet the changing demands of the labour market;

68. Welcomes the Commission's intention to follow up the proposal which it submitted in 2005 and its amended proposal of 2007 for a directive laying down minimum requirements for enhancing worker mobility by improving the vesting and preservation of supplementary pension rights;

69. Calls on the Commission and Member States to facilitate the mobility of vulnerable groups of the population and help remove the obstacles which they encounter by creating more quality jobs, combating discrimination, tackling new forms of social exclusion, supporting gender equality, supporting the family and effectively ensuring access to the workplace, accommodation services and transport;

70. Emphasises that women with children are less mobile than men and calls for appropriate measures to be taken to offset that imbalance;

71. Supports SOLVIT as an instrument for swift resolution of problems in the internal market and equally of problems related to worker mobility; recommends that more resources to be made available to SOLVIT;

72. Calls on the Commission and the Member States to promote programmes in support of mobility for young professionals; believes that such programmes need to be grounded in the employer/employee relationship, and should recognise the value added arising from experience, abilities and skills, including knowledge of languages, acquired outside one's home country;

73. Believes that, as student and teacher mobility are essential elements of job mobility, more attention should be paid to initiatives like the Bologna Process and the Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and other programmes when it comes to the implementation of the European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010);

74. Congratulates the Commission on its initiative of consulting all parties involved in promoting labour mobility in the Union; believes that this dialogue will enhance transparency, stimulate networking and the exchange of best practice and innovative approaches so as to boost mobility and accelerate the implementation of mobility on a comprehensive basis, as well as consolidating the underlying principles and values;

75. Acknowledges the contributions made by the Comenius, Erasmus and Leonardo programmes to enabling young people to study abroad, and stresses their importance from the point of view of later professional mobility; calls upon the Commission to examine the scope for expanding access to the programmes, bearing in mind the special needs of disadvantaged groups;

76. Calls for a strong commitment on the part of European schools and universities and of governments to significantly boosting job mobility, for example through their participation in the network of stakeholders mentioned by the Commission in its Communication;

77. Believes that cooperation between private or public companies and educational institutions should be strengthened;

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

(1)

      OJ L 255, 30.9.2005, p. 22.

(2)

      OJ L 158, 30.4.2004, 77.

(3)

      OJ L 390, 31.12.2004, p. 6.

(4)

    OJ L 149, 5.7.1971, p. 2..

(5)

      OJ L 74, 27.3.1972, p. 1.

(6)

      OJ C 187 E, 24.7.2008, p. 159.

(7)

      OJ C 371, 23.12.2000, p. 4.

(8)

      OJ 102 E, 24.4.2008, p. 321.

(9)

OJ L 166, 30.4.2004, p. 1.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Labour mobility is a key factor for achieving the Lisbon objectives. Thus, the implementation of the Lisbon strategy for growth and employment has, in the last two years alone, led to the creation of some 6.5 m jobs, a figure which could rise by another 5 m by 2009.

A Eurobarometer poll in 2006 found that Europeans recognise the importance of labour mobility - 57% consider it to have a positive impact on European integration - but few actually take advantage of it. As things stand, a mere 2% of EU citizens work in a Member State other than their own, and only 5.5% of those interviewed said they intended to move to another Member State.

With the programmes set in motion in this sense and with a view to modifying the legislation on facilitating workforce mobility over the last few years, the conditions for spending time working in another Member State have been much improved. Nonetheless, there are still numerous obstacles to labour mobility, be they administrative, legislative, fiscal or social. The administrative obstacles relate mostly to the bureaucratic particularities of each Member State and to the variations in labour market legislations: responsibility for removing these barriers lies to a great extent with the Member States.

The EU can, however, improve matters in the legislative sphere, by revising the legislation in force and updating it in line with current labour market needs.

In order to encourage action to reduce the practical obstacles to mobility still facing jobseekers, workers and employers, the Commission launched, in December 2007, the European Job Mobility Action Plan, which will continue up to 2010.

The main objectives of this new action plan are: to improve the present social security rules; to eliminate administrative obstacles; to consolidate EURES (the European labour mobility portal); and to make Europeans more aware of the opportunities for working abroad.

The Commission's action plan encourages the Member States to improve their existing legislation and administrative practices, notably by coordinating the social security aspects, with transferability for supplementary pensions. For example, the Commission wants online coordination of the social security aspects to be available by 2009. This will facilitate the introduction of an electronic version of the European health insurance card.

The Commission is convinced of the importance and effectiveness of EURES as a 'one-stop shop' for workforce mobility in the EU, as well as the need to consolidate its role. The EURES network will continue to develop its services and will make a particular effort to reach certain target groups such as the long-term unemployed, young workers, older workers, women, researchers, the self-employed and seasonal workers.

Developing EURES' institutional capabilities is one of the objectives of the Commission's action plan. Subsequent actions will be aimed at improving jobseekers' and their families' access to more and better jobs. The plan also includes support for employers recruiting persons from abroad with a view to better remedying the shortcomings and obstacles. At the same time, local, regional and national authorities will benefit from closer coordination and simplified administration of social security and pensions, and will be encouraged to take initiatives to facilitate mobility.

Furthermore, the proposed 'European Job Days' will enable the general public to have access to job offers from employers in the EU, as well as information on the possibilities and benefits of labour mobility.

Your rapporteur supports the Commission's initiative and recommends additional actions, as well as rigorous checks on the implementation of the relevant EU legislation. She also draws attention to the existing problems, notably with regard to social and health insurance, as well as to the administrative and legal obstacles to job mobility. In addition, she evaluates the results of the existing programmes and platforms at EU level for enhancing labour mobility, and makes a number of recommendations with a view to improving their operation.


OPINION of the Committee on Culture and Education (18.9.2008)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on the European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)

(2008/2098(INI))

Rapporteur: Tadeusz Zwiefka

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Culture and Education calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Stresses the key role of lifelong learning in enhancing workers' job-to-job mobility, in improving the educational level of the population as a whole, in keeping knowledge up to date and in reducing the risk of exclusion for workers between jobs;

2.   Stresses the need to distinguish the specific mobility of artists from that of workers in the Union in general, in terms of the nature of the performing arts and the irregularity and unpredictability resulting from a particular employment regime;

3.   Believes that, as student and teacher mobility are essential elements of job mobility, more attention should be paid to initiatives like the Bologna Process and the Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and other programmes when it comes to the implementation of the European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010);

4.   Calls for balance to be ensured between flexibility, mobility and security for workers and employers and for existing legislation and administrative procedures related to this to be improved;

5.   Calls on the Member States actively to promote foreign language education (especially for adults), given that linguistic barriers are one of the main remaining hurdles to mobility of workers and their families;

6.   Recalls that flexibility and mobility are two elements that are inseparable from the exercise of artistic professions;

7.   Considers that mobility of workers of both genders with families (e.g. children and dependent relatives) depends to a great extent on the availability and affordability of services (e.g. care for children and senior citizens, education facilities, day centres, special services); considers, at the same time, that job mobility should promote personal fulfilment and improve quality of life and work;

8.   Insists on the need to implement the initiative on credit transfer in vocational education and training (ECVET) and also on the need for recognition and validation of skills acquired through non-formal and informal learning, with a view to all accredited training being validated in the different Member States, and the need for active promotion of implementation of the European Qualification Framework (EQF) in all Member States;

9.   Emphasises that women with children are less mobile than men and calls for appropriate measures to be taken to offset that imbalance;

10.  Emphasises that the special status and needs of young students and workers should be considered in the framework of European Employment Services (EURES) - which network needs to be promoted and strengthened; emphasises also the fact that many individuals working in the culture and education sectors are self-employed workers;

11.  Stresses that artists both inside and outside the EU frequently find their mobility impaired by problems in obtaining short-stay visas, and that this limits their access to employment;

12  Underlines the need for comparable and reliable statistics on the mobility flows of workers, students, teachers and researchers in order to improve the Commission's knowledge of mobility, as well as its monitoring of the above-mentioned Action Plan;

13. Calls for the strong engagement and commitment of European schools and universities and of governments in significantly boosting job mobility, for example through their participation in the network of stakeholders foreseen by the Commission in its Communication;

14.  Believes that cooperation between private or public companies and educational institutions should be strengthened;

15. Calls for firms to support worker mobility, e.g. through flexible working hours or tele-working.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

10.9.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

16

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Maria Badia i Cutchet, Ivo Belet, Marie-Hélène Descamps, Milan Gaľa, Luis Herrero-Tejedor, Ruth Hieronymi, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Manolis Mavrommatis, Ljudmila Novak, Dumitru Oprea, Pál Schmitt, Helga Trüpel, Thomas Wise, Tomáš Zatloukal

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Mary Honeyball, Cornelis Visser, Tadeusz Zwiefka


OPINION of the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality (10.9.2008)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on The European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)

(2008/2098(INI))

Rapporteur: Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

-     having regard to Directive 2002/73/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 September 2002 amending Council Directive 76/207/EEC on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions(1),

A.  whereas worker mobility is a key instrument for the achievement of the Lisbon Strategy objectives but still remains low, also among women,

B.   whereas around 2% of citizens of working age currently live and work in a Member State other than their own and whereas some 48% of all EU migrants are women,

C.  whereas the dynamic labour market poses serious challenges to the workers and especially to women with children, forcing them to make compromises between professional and family life,

D.  whereas the insufficient adaptation of social security schemes in the Member States creates difficulties for women, with regard for example to pregnancy, child raising, and better career opportunities,

1.   Calls on the Commission to take into account the specific needs of female mobile workers of all ages and to include concrete steps to meet these needs in the four areas of the European Job Mobility Action Plan;

2.   Urges the Commission to research the gender dimension of job mobility and to recommend flexible instruments to overcome the remaining barriers faced by women;

3.   Proposes to the Commission to organise information campaigns on job mobility possibilities, aimed at young girls and women, so as to facilitate their adaptation to the dynamic labour market;

4.   Calls on the Member States and stakeholders to take into consideration and to remove the obstacles to female work mobility, by providing, among other things: fair access to qualified jobs and high level positions, equal pay, flexible working, adequate healthcare and childcare services, good quality education facilities for children, pension rights portability, and elimination of gender stereotypes;

5.   Recommends that Member States, regional and local authorities actively promote special employment, training, educational, distance learning and language programmes to create a more "women friendly" labour market and to enable reconciliation of professional and family life;

6.   Recommends that the Commission, the Member States and local and regional authorities evaluate, as soon as possible, the extent and impact of workforce mobility on children who, for a certain period, have not accompanied their parents to their new places of work, and propose suitable means of dealing with such circumstances;

7.   Acknowledges the Commission's proposal to strengthen the TRESS network capacity and to reinforce the scope and quality of EURES by including women as a specific category of workers.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

9.9.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

21

0

2

Members present for the final vote

Edit Bauer, Emine Bozkurt, Ilda Figueiredo, Věra Flasarová, Lissy Gröner, Zita Gurmai, Anneli Jäätteenmäki, Rodi Kratsa-Tsagaropoulou, Urszula Krupa, Pia Elda Locatelli, Siiri Oviir, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, Zita Pleštinská, Teresa Riera Madurell, Eva-Britt Svensson, Anna Záborská

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Gabriela Creţu, Lidia Joanna Geringer de Oedenberg, Donata Gottardi, Mary Honeyball, Filiz Hakaeva Hyusmenova, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva, Maria Petre

(1)

OL L 269, 5.10.2002, p. 15.


OPINION of the Committee on Petitions (16.9.2008)

for the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs

on the European Job Mobility Action Plan (2007-2010)

(2008/2098(INI))

Rapporteur: Maria Matsouka

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Petitions calls on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Urges the Commission to prioritise streamlining of administrative practices and administrative cooperation so as to allow synergies between national institutions and authorities whose interaction is decisive when trying to resolve problems between Member States efficiently; in addition, considers that Member States should fight vigorously against all legal and administrative barriers as well as obstacles to geographical mobility at European, national, regional or local levels, such as the non-recognition of mobility related experiences for career prospects or social security and pensions, particularly within small and medium-sized enterprises;

2.  Urges the Member States to implement fully Regulation (EEC) No 1408/71 and Regulation (EC) No 883/2004 (to be applicable from 2009), as well as related legislation on social security matters and the payment of allowances of any kind; calls on the Member States and the Commission to urgently address the recurring problems raised in petitions and complaints on social security, pensions, and health care; supports the Commission's plans for the introduction of an electronic version of the European Health Insurance Card; suggests that this should also be done for form "E106";

3.  Stresses the need for close cooperation between national administrations in order to identify and eliminate injustices in the fields of justice and taxation while respecting national competencies;

4.  Calls for the regional and national authorities to remove practical obstacles to mobility, in accordance with the concept of "fair mobility", particularly by combating undeclared work and social dumping;

5.  Encourages educational authorities to work together pro-actively on mutual recognition of qualifications – gained from formal, informal and non-formal education – and professions which correspond to the standards set by Member States; considers it crucial that Member States make full use of the European Qualifications Framework and give appropriate follow-up to upcoming initiatives on the European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training, so that classification in the levels of the national educational system and of the Lifelong Learning programme allows mobile workers to continue their training; endorses the Commission's commitment to developing Europass in order to make qualifications more readable for employers; stresses the value of the Euraxess Services;

6.  Notes that the Commission's European Union Network for Patient Safety project is the first step amongst many aimed at encouraging Member States and EU stakeholders to collect and exchange information concerning patient safety at Member State level; however, regrets that it does not encourage the exchange of information between Member States' regulatory authorities responsible for health-care professionals; calls on the Commission to encourage the exchange of information between such regulatory authorities in order to facilitate the mobility of health-care professionals and patient safety throughout the EU;

7.  Supports the idea of transforming EURES into a one-stop mobility information portal which should operate as a centralised helpdesk where potentially mobile workers can obtain information about all aspects of job mobility – not only about job vacancies, social security, health care, pensions and recognition of qualifications, but also about language issues, housing, employment for spouses, education for children and integration in general in the target state; points out that, where appropriate, it should be expanded to the benefit of third-country nationals, including those who have not yet acquired long-term resident status;

8.  Fully endorses the existing information mechanisms but at the same time suggests that all relevant sites, portals etc. be checked in terms of efficiency and, if necessary, be reorganised, harmonised or regrouped so as to make them more user-friendly;

9.  Draws attention to the fact that Member States should promote and exchange good practice and mutual learning schemes for mobility actions, financed from the EU Cohesion Fund, and especially from the European Social Fund;

10. Considers that, in addition to online services, supplementary means of supplying information should be explored and put in place in the Member States and in the regions of the EU with a view to the widespread distribution of information on job mobility within Member States; considers that a job mobility call centre related to EURES should be put in place with a view to promptly providing workers with information on specific questions in the national language and at least in a second European language;

11. Calls for the development of appropriate training for professional mobility consultants, who will also contribute to the resolution of the upcoming issues needing to be solved;

12. Supports SOLVIT as an instrument for swift resolution of problems in the internal market and equally of problems related to workers' mobility; asks for more resources to be made available for SOLVIT;

13. Considers it essential to raise awareness as to the possibilities for submitting complaints and petitions about obstacles to job mobility and infringements of relevant EU legislation.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

11.9.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

13

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Sir Robert Atkins, Victor Boştinaru, Glyn Ford, Carlos José Iturgaiz Angulo, Marcin Libicki, Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Maria Matsouka, Manolis Mavrommatis, Mairead McGuinness, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, Nicolae Vlad Popa

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Marie-Hélène Descamps, Grażyna Staniszewska


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

17.11.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

39

0

3

Members present for the final vote

Jan Andersson, Iles Braghetto, Philip Bushill-Matthews, Alejandro Cercas, Ole Christensen, Jean Louis Cottigny, Jan Cremers, Proinsias De Rossa, Harlem Désir, Harald Ettl, Richard Falbr, Ilda Figueiredo, Joel Hasse Ferreira, Stephen Hughes, Karin Jöns, Ona Juknevičienė, Bernard Lehideux, Mary Lou McDonald, Juan Andrés Naranjo Escobar, Csaba Őry, Marie Panayotopoulos-Cassiotou, Pier Antonio Panzeri, Bilyana Ilieva Raeva, Elisabeth Schroedter, José Albino Silva Peneda, Jean Spautz, Ewa Tomaszewska

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Jean Marie Beaupuy, Françoise Castex, Petru Filip, Marian Harkin, Sepp Kusstatscher, Lasse Lehtinen, Roberto Musacchio, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Csaba Sógor, Patrizia Toia, Glenis Willmott

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Giles Chichester, Jill Evans, Erik Meijer, Zbigniew Zaleski

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