Fairer labour mobility within the EU (exploratory opinion requested by the Dutch presidency)

Key points

  • The EESC recalls that intra-EU workers' mobility is a fundamental freedom enshrined in the TFEU and one of the most highly-valued achievements of the European integration process.
  • When conducted under fair conditions, labour mobility can be enriching and beneficial for workers, employers and society as a whole. It can help in balancing out the different employment levels in Member States, providing labour and talent where there is a shortage, offsetting the effects of the ageing of the workforce in the country of destination.
  • Such mobility can, however, also lead to "brain drain" in certain countries and sectors, when an important number of young people leave a country in search of a job or better opportunities. Therefore, the EESC calls for boosting growth and productivity,  improving  living conditions and creating high-quality jobs in every Member State.
  • The EESC considers that both the Commission and the Member States must make a special effort to guarantee and promote the free movement of workers in the EU abolishing any discrimination based on nationality, avoiding unjustified restrictions for both workers and businesses.
  • Fair mobility requires ensuring compliance with the principles of equal treatment and non-discrimination on the grounds of nationality in accordance with the European acquis for European mobile workers exercising the right of freedom of movement, who are subject to the working conditions and wage-setting rules of the host country, in full respect of national systems for collective bargaining and industrial relations.
  • The EESC urges the Commission to address, in consultation with the social partners, all necessary issues regarding posted workers to address unfair practices that lead to social dumping. Similarly, any new measures at European level must respect national competences for collective bargaining and the different systems of industrial relations.