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Parliamentary question - P-002529/2022(ASW)Parliamentary question

Answer given by Executive Vice-President Vestager on behalf of the European Commission

In light of the relatively high level of self-employment in the EU, influenced by the global process of subcontracting and outsourcing of services as well as by the digitalisation of the production processes, the Commission Draft Guidelines (published for consultation on 9 December 2021) aim to clarify the application of EU competition rules as regards collective negotiations by self-employed people.

Relying on the rationale of existing case law on collective agreements between employers and workers, the Draft Guidelines explain the application of EU competition rules to collective agreements regarding working conditions of solo self-employed persons and the Commission’s enforcement priorities.

The Draft Guidelines do not impose any obligations on companies to negotiate nor do they exempt all negotiations by solo self-employed people.

The Draft Guidelines identify specific situations in which the self-employed are in a situation comparable to workers or in a situation of imbalance in bargaining power.

Once adopted, the Guidelines will not have a direct impact on prices since they do not apply to agreements which determine the conditions (including prices) under which services are offered to consumers (see paragraph 18 of the Draft Guidelines).

Their indirect impact on prices largely depends on a nexus of factors, including the uptake of collective agreements by solo self-employed people; the potential increase of their remuneration; and the level of pass-on of these input costs to consumers. Despite the difficulty to estimate this impact, the Commission expects that it would remain, on average, below 0.2%.

Last updated: 5 September 2022
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