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Parliamentary questions
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4 October 2011
Question for written answer E-008685/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Heide Rühle (Verts/ALE)

 Subject: Restriction of employment agencies' access to the market
 Answer in writing 

Free movement for workers and the freedom to offer services are among the basic European Union freedoms. Any citizen of the Union, irrespective of his or her place of residence, is entitled both to take up employment and work and also to provide a service in any Member State, under the same conditions which apply to nationals of that Member State. The concern of human resources agencies to be able to recruit staff to work in other Member States is thus entirely in accordance both with the principle of workers’ freedom of movement and with the freedom to offer services.

Certain Member States — including Belgium, Denmark, Estonia and Finland — restrict access to their markets for employment agencies from other Member States by preventing them from accessing national employment services. This affects, in particular, their ability to record job profiles in search engines for the labour market. While national employment agencies are able to do this, agencies from outside the country are denied the necessary access. Similar services are offered by the European Employment Services (EURES) network but it serves only EU citizens, and its more limited reach means it is often insufficient.

1. Does the Commission consider restriction of market access in this way to be justified, and what factors, in its view, could make it justifiable?

2. Is it permissible under the Services Directive to restrict access by employment agencies from other Member States to national employment services’ databases?

3. The Commission in its communication entitled ‘Reaffirming the free movement of workers’ (COM(2010)0373) made a commitment to removing restrictions on mobility. Does it regard the abovementioned restrictions of market access as restrictions on mobility, and will it take steps against current practice in certain Member States in this regard?

Original language of question: DEOJ C 154 E, 31/05/2012
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