Employment : Migrant Workers: Commission Takes Stock

Article excerpt

The European Commission is counting on workers' mobility to achieve the targets of the Europe 2020' strategy. To encourage European citizens to work in another member state, it published, on 13 July, a communication entitled Reaffirming the free movement of workers', which presents an updated picture of the rights of migrant workers in the EU, particularly recent Court of Justice rulings clarifying these rights. "The aim of this communication is to present an overall picture of the rights of EU migrant workers, update the communication of December 20002(1) on the subject and raise awareness and promote the rights of migrant workers who are in a more vulnerable situation than national workers," states the document. The day before its release, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) sounded the alarm over the impact of the crisis on migrant workers, who were the first to lose their jobs due to being employed in vulnerable sectors. "The right to live and work in another member state is one of the EU's fundamental freedoms, but too few people currently take advantage of this right," declared Commissioner Laszlo Andor (employment and social affairs). At present, 2.3% of Europeans (11.3 million) reside in a member state other than their country of origin. According to a Eurobarometer survey published at the same time, nearly one European in five would consider working abroad in the future and one in two would do so if they became unemployed. The same Eurobarometer shows in connection with the geographical mobility of the workforce that the main obstacles to mobility are not legal, administrative or practical. The main obstacles to working abroad are the feeling of belonging and language difficulties. Only 10% to 20% expect problems related to taxes or access to education or health care for their children. …