Employment and Social Policy Council : Mixed Reaction to Monti II Regulation

Article excerpt

The legislative proposals on the posting of workers were given a mixed reception by the employment and social affairs ministers at their informal meeting, on 24-25 April in Horsens, Denmark. The ministers reacted fairly positively to the draft directive that clarifies the 1996 rules, but most member states questioned the relevance of a new regulation to reconcile the right to take collective action with economic freedoms (so-called Monti II'). All eyes are now on the Danish EU Presidency. According to a diplomatic source, the Danes may decide to suspend the discussions on the latter point. Cyprus, which will take up the rotating Council Presidency after Denmark, said that this issue would be a priority during its time at the helm. The rest of the meeting was dedicated to the questions of youth unemployment and pressure on social services.

FIRST DEBATE

During this initial airing of views, on the morning of 25 April, all the ministers praised the overall objective of the proposals, namely to improve the rules governing situations where a worker is sent to work for a limited time period in a member state other than the state where he or she usually works. They nevertheless expressed concerns about the relevance of a new regulation to reconcile the right to take collective action to defend the rights of posted workers, including the right to strike, on the one hand, with economic freedoms on the other, in particular freedom of establishment and freedom to provide services. Many find that this proposal, which requires unanimity in Council, encroaches on national legislation.

The proposed implementing directive, the second text in the posting package, met with a more positive reaction. The ministers voiced support for provisions on administrative cooperation and particularly welcomed the new criteria for concluding that a posting situation exists and for strengthening workers' rights. …