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Parliamentary questions
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24 September 2013
Question for written answer E-010868-13
to the Commission
Rule 117
Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska (PPE)

 Subject:  Speech by the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment, 10.9.2013
 Answer in writing 

The Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment Lodewijk Asscher has announced that he will investigate the impact of economic migration on the local job market in an effort to persuade the Commission to fight the influx of cheap labour from Eastern Europe and in particular from Bulgaria, Romania and Poland. The Minister has stated that immigrants work for longer than the regulations permit and that they are employed by dubious employment agencies and for rates which he described as ‘wage dumping’. The Minister told the Dutch press that, in common with Denmark and Great Britain, the problem will get worse before anything changes.

The stance taken by Minister Asscher goes against what was adopted in the Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights of the Maastricht Treaty, which laid down rights to which all workers in the EU are entitled, for example the right of free movement and the right to a decent income, better working conditions and social protection. The Charter applies to every Member State, and therefore also to Holland.

This is not the first time a member of the Dutch government has spoken against the rights of EU citizens. In January 2012 the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment gave a press interview in which he called into question the principle of equal treatment for EU citizens.

— Has the Commission taken steps to clarify the current situation? If so, what action has it taken?

— If the Commission has not taken any action, when and how does it intend to prevent a repetition of the kind of speech made by the Dutch Minister, which smacks of discrimination against people from Member States in Eastern Europe?

— Does the Commission intend to initiate a procedure to hold the Dutch government liable for violating the rules which are binding in all Member States?

— In what other ways does the Commission intend to put pressure on the Dutch government to ensure that this kind of unequal treatment of EU citizens is not repeated?

Original language of question: PLOJ C 206, 02/07/2014
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