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November 2012 - February 2013

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21/02/2013 - IMCO-Committee meeting at the European Parliament (EP)

The IMCO-Committee which is in charge to give its opinion on the proposed reform has adopted its final opinion. The Danish Rapporteur Emilie Turunen has announced that she did not want to associate her name to this final opinion, as she considered it as being not balanced at all.

Indeed, the opinion was approved with 20 votes in favour, 15 against and 4 abstentions which demonstrated the deep division existing within the IMCO-Committee. The key result for the cleaning industry is that a closed list was maintained in Article 9 on national control measures, with slight changes compared to the Commission’s proposal.

a.)   On the EU reform of public procurement rules: start of trilogue negotiations

After the publication of the final IMCO report in January, the Rapporteur announced that trilogue negotiations were launched. The purpose of this procedure is now to find a global compromise on the whole reform between the European Commission, the Parliament and the Council (trilogue).

An indicative timetable of trilogue negotiations was given, especially with the aim to ensure the transparency of the procedure. The IMCO Chairman Malcolm Harbour stated that the Rapporteur would frequently present the progress in the negotiations as well as the outstanding issues. With regard to the six main subjects of interest for the EFCI, several trilogue meetings are foreseen from March to June 2013 (see for further details, the Secretariat note of 17th May 2013).

21/02/2013 - EMPL-Committee meeting at the European Parliament (EP): consideration of amendments on the proposal for an enforcement of the Posting of Workers Directive (PWD)

The draft EMPL report of the Rapporteur Danuta Jazlowiecka was published on 8 November 2012 and the 775 amendments proposed on this reform were published on 21 January 2013.

It was acknowledged that the draft report did not improve the situation about the concerns of the cleaning industry regarding Article 9 (closed-list of monitoring compliance measures) of the Commission’s proposal. Indeed, the Rapporteur proposed that national authorities can only apply control measures that are enumerated in a closed-list. This would mean that all other measures not contained in the list would not be any more allowed and would therefore hamper the possibility of effective controls.

It is in this context that the EMPL-Committee started to consider the 775 amendments and EMPL-Committee’s members from the diverse political groups exchanged their views on the direction of the ongoing reform. Furthermore, it was announced that the EMPL-Committee would adopt its final report on 21 March 2013. It seems however likely that this adoption would be postponed, as divisions are important on the two main issues of articles 9 (national control measures) and 12 (system of joint and several liability for the construction sector). Indeed, while the socialists and greens support the establishment of an open-list of control measures within article 9, the majority of conservatives and liberals back the rapporteur’s position to establish a closed-list. However, several Austrian, French and German conservative MEPs seem to support the introduction of an open-list.

05/02/2013 - European Employers’ Network (EEN) at BusinessEurope

The EEN, which is organised several times per year by BusinessEurope, offers a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on issues of concern for European employers associations’ representatives. During this meeting, the following subjects were discussed:

§  Tripartite Social Summit on 14 March 2013: information on theme and designation of the EEN member to be included in the BusinessEurope delegation

§  Social partner involvement in economic governance: information on cross-industry social partner activities and on the extraordinary EMCO meeting on wage developments

§  Activities in the cross-sectoral social dialogue: working time and framework of actions on youth employment

§  Activities in the sectoral social dialogue: exchange of information and ongoing social impact assessments

§  Data protection: lobby activities in view of the Parliamentary EMPL-Committee vote on 21 February

§  Update on other social affairs dossiers: EU gender quota in boards of directors; pensions; Rethinking education and Youth employment package; restructuring; posting of workers; transnational company agreements; and temporary agency work.

28/01/2013 - Liaison Forum at the European Commission, DG EMPL

The Liaison Forum offers a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on issues of interest for social partners’ representatives at EU level. The first part of the meeting was dedicated to discuss recent and forthcoming developments for EU social dialogue and to present the Annual Growth Survey 2013 and the Joint Employment Report. The second part was devoted to present an overview of the Commission initiatives related to skills demand, and to explain the Youth Employment Package published by the Commission on 6 December 2012 (see in this regard the Secretariat note of 17th January 2013). The third part consisted in discussing the following subjects: presentation of the sectoral work and priorities of the International Labour Organization (ILO) for 2013; developing sectoral fact sheets based on the 5th European Working Conditions Survey published by Eurofound in April 2012; development of sectoral Online Interactive Risk Assessment tools (OIRA tool) by the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA); preparation of the next thematic Liaison Forum on demographic challenges to be held on 27 May 2013.

10/01/2013 - Business breakfast at the European Parliament (EP) – “Ensuring SMEs' access to public procurement” - chaired by the Rapporteur MEP Marc Tarabella

This event was organised by the European Builders Confederation (EBC - the Association of Construction Crafts and SMEs in Europe), and chaired by the Rapporteur Marc Tarabella. It followed the IMCO-Committee vote of adoption of 18th December 2012 on the public procurement reform. Marc Tarabella introduced the meeting by recalling the main results of the recent IMCO-Committee vote of December, and also informed the participants about the timetable of the IMCO-Committee’s work. Furthermore, the EBC Secretary General reminded the key elements voted by the IMCO-committee and subject to future negotiations with the Council.

Afterwards, Thomas Hanney - Ambassador of Ireland to the EU, and Klaus Wiedner - Head of Unit in DG Internal market of the European Commission - respectively presented the views of their institutions. At this occasion, the EFCI Director presented the viewpoint of our industry on the proposed reform by stressing the main points of interest and issues of concerns (see in this regard the last Secretariat note of 20th September 2012 on this subject).

19/12/2012 - Eurociett conference on the current role of Private Employment Agencies

Eurociett is the European Confederation of Private Employment Agencies. This event was mainly devoted to the presentation of a new report jointly published by Eurociett and UNI Europa. This report shows the positive role that temporary agency work plays in easing transitions in the labour market, by providing facts and figures. Its main findings are the following:

§  From unemployment to work: In the Netherlands, 33% of unemployed jobseekers return to employment through the sector. In France and Italy, 40% of people coming to temporary agency work were formerly unemployed. In Germany, more than 60% of temporary agency workers starting in 2011 were unemployed or had never worked before;

§  From temporary to permanent jobs: In Belgium, 48% of temporary agency workers are using agency work to improve their chances of finding direct employment;

§  From education to work: Temporary agency work provides the first working experience for many young people. People under 25 years old represent 37% of agency workers in Belgium, 46% in the Netherlands and 33% in Italy;

§  Target groups: 31% of agency workers in the Netherlands belong to ethnic minorities, long term unemployed, or disabled. The sector also offers work for older workers transitioning out of labour markets, with the share of over 40 years old workers doubling between 2002 and 2011 in Italy.

07/12/2012 - Conference “Anticipating skills needs at EU level” at the European Commission

Jointly organised by DG Employment and DG Education, this conference was essentially devoted to present the various initiatives proposed in the Commission communication “Rethinking education: investing in skills for better socio-economic outcomes” published on 20 November 2012. The most important part of the event consisted in launching the first version of the website EU Skills Panorama. Indeed Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou responsible for Education officially launched this online tool which aims to improve transparency for jobseekers, workers, employers and/or public institutions, by offering updated forecasts of skills supply and labour market needs up to 2020 in the EU (see in this regard the Secretariat note of 18th January 2013). Furthermore, the meeting was as well dedicated to present the emerging skills needs and bottleneck occupations in the EU, to make know EU level actions and tools in terms of skills, and discuss about their existing and potential links with the EU Skills Panorama, and finally to expose the way forward with the skills agenda proposed by the Commission in its communication mentioned above.

04/12/2012 - Working breakfast on a better enforcement of the Posting of Workers Directive organised by the EPP delegation at the European Parliament (EP)

Following the various concerns expressed by stakeholders and MEPs after the publication of the Jazlowiecka draft report in November, the Polish EPP delegation at the EP organised a working breakfast on 4 December, to which the Secretariat was invited. Dedicated to the main controversial subjects in the enforcement Directive, the meeting was opened by the Polish MEPs Danuta Jazlowiecka and Małgorzata Handzlik who presented the respective viewpoints of the EMPL and IMCO-Committee.  Afterwards, representatives from cross-industry European social partners (ETUC and BusinessEurope) gave their opinion on the state of play of the proposed reform. While the ETUC representative stressed the need of an open list as to allow for other control measures than those currently enumerated in article 9, paragraph 1, point a – d, the BusinessEurope representative strongly defended the opposite view. The subsequent discussion among participants can be resumed as follows. Several representatives of EU employers’ associations and trade unions expressed their opinions on the main controversial subjects. Concerning article 9, the representatives of FIEC (European Construction Industry Federation), EFCI and UEAPME (European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) stressed that article 9 is not acceptable in its current wording and that an open list for control measures is needed to guarantee the status quo of present legal control measures in the different Member States. In this regard, the EFCI Director openly stressed that effective and necessary control measures would not be any more possible if the directive is adopted in its current wording, a position that was strongly supported by the representatives of FIEC and UEAPME. Besides FIEC, also the EFCI announced that a joint position paper between social partners would be sent to all members of the EMPL and IMCO-Committee aiming to highlight the common points of view of the entire sector (see in this regard the Secretariat note of 21st December 2012).

03/12/2012 - Thematic Liaison Forum at DG EMPL on the European social dialogue’s outcomes

The “Liaison Forum”, which is organised several times per year by DG EMPL, offers a regular platform of information and discussion on questions of interest for EU social partners’ representatives. This meeting aimed to initiate an exchange of views with EU social partner organisations on the existing framework of the EU social dialogue. The Commission purpose was to find with concerned actors, a common language as regards the terminology, and a joint approach as regards the follow-up and visibility of EU social dialogue outcomes. This meeting was therefore dedicated to the following issues: Improvement of the impact and follow-up of European social dialogue; Typologie of outcomes: facts and figures; Presentation related to the follow-up of EU Social Partner Agreements (Agreements implemented by Council Decision and Autonomous agreement); Presentations by EU social partners related to the follow-up of process-oriented texts (Frameworks of action; Guidelines; and Codes of conduct); Presentation by EU social partners related to the follow-up of joint opinions and tools; Improvement of the visibility of EU social dialogue outcomes?