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Parliamentary questions
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18 December 2012
Question for written answer E-011518-12
to the Commission
Rule 117
Maurice Ponga (PPE)

 Subject:  Free movement of workers in the OCTs — principle of non-discrimination
 Answer in writing 

Part IV of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union sets out the principles underpinning the association of the OCTs with the EU. Article 203 clarifies the procedure and states that it is the responsibility of the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission, to lay down provisions as regards the detailed rules and the procedure for the association of the OCTs with the Union.

The Council set out detailed rules for the association by way of a decision on 27 November 2001, subsequently amended on 19 March 2007 (the ‘Overseas Association Decision’, or OAD).

Regarding the right of establishment and the right to provide services, the underlying principle is non-discrimination between the Member States, while OCT nationals can be prioritised over Member State nationals. Indeed, Article 45 of the OAD stipulates that ‘the OCT authorities shall afford nationals, companies or enterprises of the Member States treatment that is no less favourable than that which they extend to nationals, companies or enterprises of third countries and shall not discriminate between nationals, companies or enterprises of Member States’, although ‘the authorities of an OCT may with a view to promoting or supporting local employment, adopt regulations to aid their inhabitants and local activities’.

However, no provision seems to have been made in the OAD with regard to the free movement of workers.

1. In the absence of specific provisions in the OAD with regard to the free movement of workers, does the Commission consider that the principle of non-discrimination, adapted in the same way as for the freedom of establishment and to provide services, applies here mutatis mutandis?

2. If not, do the OCTs have the right to discriminate between EU citizens in accordance with their local law?

Original language of question: FROJ C 340 E, 21/11/2013
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