Employment MEPs boost freedom of movement for workers throughout the EU 

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Measures to help EU citizens who want to work in another member state by clarifying their right to freedom of movement, providing suitable means of redress at national level if they suffer discrimination, and setting up contact and information points in the member states were adopted by employment MEPs on Tuesday.

"The right of EU citizens to work in another member state is laid down in the Treaty and EU legislation. However discrimination based on nationality still remains. This legislation aims at clarifying, facilitating and better applying the rights under existing EU legislation but does not create new ones and does not impose new obligations on member states. The well-functioning single market should include an obstacle-free and smooth free movement of workers," Edit Bauer (EPP, SK)said the rapporteur, Edit Bauer (EPP, SK).

According to European Commission figures, 6.6 million EU citizens lived and worked in a member state other than their own in 2012, accounting for over 3% of all workers in the EU. A further 1.2 million people lived in one EU country but worked in another. A 2011 study found that15% of EU citizens would not consider working in another member state because they felt that there were too many obstacles.

Redress at national level for victims of discrimination

Existing legislation stipulates that EU workers who face discrimination on the grounds of nationality must be granted effective means of legal protection and redress.

The committee voted on Tuesday to enhance the role of social partners (NGOs, associations, trade unions) in supporting victims of discrimination in legal proceedings.

Better information through a European network of national contact points

MEPs also proposed that the Commission and the member states should establish a European network of national contact points to improve cooperation among member states in enforcing the rights of workers from other EU countries. National governments should also make better use of existing information and assistance services such as Your Europe, SOLVIT, EURES, Enterprise Europe Network and Points of Single Contact, they said.

Categories of worker and scope of the directive

MEPs amended the new directive proposed by the Commission to specify clearly which groups of workers are affected by existing EU rules (regulation 492/2011). They are: permanent, seasonal, frontier and self-employed workers but not posted workers.

The draft directive also clarifies the scope of the rules, stipulating that they cover access to employment; conditions of employment, in particular as regards remuneration and dismissal; access to social and tax advantages; membership of trade unions; and access to training, housing and education for children. MEPs also amended the text to include health and safety at work and access to public employment services.

Next steps

The text adopted by the committee sets out Parliament's mandate to start negotiations with national governments in the Council.

The resolution was adopted by 41 votes to 2, with 2 abstentions.

The negotiating mandate was adopted by 40 votes to 3, with 1 abstention.