Freedom of movement for workers must be a priority
On Tuesday 5 November 2013, the European Parliament´s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs adopted a report by Edit Bauer on the Directive on freedom of movement of workers.
Freedom of movement for workers is one of the four fundamental freedoms and one of the core values of the European Union and a fundamental element of EU citizenship. In spite of this, freedom of movement of workers is the least-exercised right at the moment. According to statistics, only 3.1% of working-age European citizens (15-64) have lived in an EU Member State other than their own. Because of the remaining obstacles and also discrimination on the grounds of nationality often faced by EU citizens, the mobility of workers within the EU is really low-level.
In addition to Article 45 of the TFEU (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union), which enshrines the right of EU citizens to move to another Member State for work purposes - including the right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of nationality as regards access to employment, remuneration and other conditions of work, the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights also confirm the right of every EU citizen to seek employment in any Member State.
The Directive now on the agenda in both the European Parliament and the Council enforces the existing Regulation ((EU) No 492/2011) on freedom of movement for workers within the Union.
The Directive does not impose new obligations on Member States as its scope is determined by the existing Regulation. The aim of this new piece of legislation is to facilitate the exercise of those rights by workers. As a lack of information is one of the biggest obstacles that keeps citizens from seeking jobs in other Member States, one of the core elements of the Directive is to ensure that workers are provided with clear, free, easily-accessible, comprehensive, multilingual and up-to-date information on their rights and also on the available means of protection and redress of these rights. Furthermore, Member States should also provide information on the right on free movement to their own nationals who wish to enjoy the right to freely move to another Member State.
The basic principle of the existing Regulation and the proposal for the new Directive is to ensure the equal treatment of all EU workers, including frontier workers, so no one can be discriminated against just because he/she is from another Member State. Those who face discrimination or suffer from unjustified restrictions, will have access to judicial and/or administrative procedures.
Member States should also designate structures or bodies for the promotion, analysis, monitoring and support of equal treatment of all workers.