European Labour Authority

In “Employment and Social Affairs - EMPL”

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For a brief overview of the key points of the adopted text and its significance for the citizen, please see the corresponding summary note.

The fast increase of the number of Europeans working in a Member State other than that of their origin, the large number of daily commuters and the important need of information on job opportunities and rights at home and abroad made necessary the creation of a European Labour Authority (ELA).

The creation of a system of labour inspectorates at national level has been a concern of the European Parliament for several years.

In his State of the Union 2017, President Juncker announced plans for a European Labour Authority, which would ensure that EU rules on labour mobility are enforced in a fair, simple and effective way. He reiterated this intention in his Letter of Intent to the European Parliament and Council, as well as in the 2018 Commission work programme.

On 27 November 2017, the European Commission launched a public consultation on a European Labour Authority and a European Social Security Number, which ended on 7 January 2018. On 13 March 2018, the European Commission published a proposal on the establishment of a European Labour Authority.

According to this proposal, the tasks of the ELA would be

  • strengthening the administrative cooperation and mutual trust for a fair mobility in the Single Market, among others by solving possible disputes between national authorities;
  • creating a pool of existing tools for cross-border mobility to provide a one-stop shop for citizens, business and public authorities (EURES – the European job mobility portal, EU social security coordination, European Health Insurance Card, EU blue card, etc.);
  • fighting abuse of labour and social legislation and organise joint cross-border control activities;
  • building on existing agencies and structures to manage better cross-border and joint activities, for instance in terms of skills forecasting, health and safety at work, the management of restructuring and tackling undeclared work.

The European Labour Authority would cooperate with the following institutions:

  • European Foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions
  • European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
  • European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
  • European Training Foundation
  • European Job Mobility Portal
  • European Platform tackling undeclared work

The proposal has been presented on the EPSCO Concil meeting on 15 March 2018. On 16 May 2018, the Council Working Party on Social Questions discussed the Impact Assessment on the proposal. Most delegations considered that the legal basis and the policy context were clearly explained. Only the Swedish Parliament submitted a reasoned opinion with subsidiarity concerns.

On 6 December 2018, the Council agreed a general approach. According to the Council`s position, the tasks of the ELA will be limited to the support of Member States in the implementation of existing relevant EU acts. Member States will participate in most of ELA's activities on a voluntary basis. 

In the European Parliament, the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL), responsible for the dossier, appointed the rapporteur on 28 March 2018.

The EMPL Committee submitted a draft report on 22 June 2018. The report stated that there is need for a Labour Authority with an operational mandate, a clear focus on enforcement and sufficient competences and power to achieve its goals. The Labour Authority should have a clear-defined role, a limited number of tasks and use the means available as efficiently as possible in areas where the Authority can provide the greatest added value. Furthermore, the draft report aimed to strike the right balance between the competences of the Member States and the desire for an agency at EU level with genuine capacity to improve enforcement of rules throughout the EU on the other. Consequently, Member States authorities should participate in proposed concerted or cross-border inspections.

The EMPL Committee adopted its final report on 20 November 2018. The Committee decision to open interinstitutional negotiations was taken the same day. On 26 November 2018 the Committee report was tabled for plenary. On 11 December 2018 the plenary confirmed the decision to enter into interinstitutional negotiations. In the Council, the file was lastly discussed on the COREPER meeting of 6-8 February. A provisional agreement between the Parliament and Council was reached on 14 February. On 26 February, the EMPL Committee voted the provisional agreement. The vote in Plenary took place on 16 April 2019. On 13 June the file was adopted by the EPSCO Council. The final act was signed on 20 June and published in the Official Journal 11 July 2019. It entered into force on 31 July 2019. The European Labour Authority started its work in Bratislava on 16 October 2019 and will reach its full operational capacity by 2024.


Further reading:

Author: Monika Kiss, Members' Research Service,

 Visit the European Parliament homepage on Social Europe

As of 20/11/2019.