May - September 2012
26/06/2012 - Breakfast briefing at the European Parliament with the Rapporteur Danuta Jazlowiecka on the Commission’s proposal for an enforcement directive of the Posting of Workers Directive (PWD)
On 26 June, the EFCI Secretariat participated in a breakfast meeting at the European Parliament (EP) on joint and several liability in the framework of the legislative procedure concerning the Commission’s proposal for an enforcement directive of the PWD (see in this regard the Secretariat note of 14th June 2012). This event was organised by the Rapporteur of the EP Employment Committee (EMPL), Danuta Jazlowiecka (EPP), in order to particularly discuss the question of joint and several liability in the construction sector but as well to meet all interested parties that follow the developments of this legislative proposal. A good contact with the Rapporteur and her assistants was established at this occasion.
Furthermore during the debate, BusinessEurope expressed its general support to suitable enforcement and implementation of the PWD. It however stressed that the proposed system of joint and several liability in cross-border subcontracting is not an effective way to achieve this aim. Indeed, such a system might harm development of the single market in services and might impose unbalanced burdens on companies, mainly SMEs.
28/06/2012 - CEEMET conference “Shaping talents – new business prospects, competitiveness and improved employability through lifelong learning”
Organised by the Council of European Employers of the Metal, Engineering and Technology-based Industries (CEEMET) at the occasion of its 50th anniversary, this conference was mainly dedicated to the question of investing in education, training and lifelong learning in order to matching skills with labour market needs. It covered as well topics such as competence development responding to international competition and technology change, skills challenge caused by demographic shifts and opportunities for SMEs.
According to a CEEMET case-study presented during the event, the employers of this sector invest more and more in the training of their employees based on company exact skills needs. These tailor-made competence development initiatives respond to the necessity to update, upgrade and build new skills, knowledge and competence that employees are missing, but that are required to remain worldwide competitive. Indeed, the skills that an individual has when he or she enters the labour market today are often not enough to meet the varying needs of companies over a longer period of time.
The EEN is organised several times per year by BusinessEurope to offer a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on issues of concern for European employers associations’ representatives. The following subjects were discussed:
§ Posting of workers/Monti II: exchange of information on ongoing lobby activities
§ Pensions: review of the Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) Directive: exchange of information on latest developments and ongoing activities
§ Activities in the cross-industry 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; discussion on sectoral skills councils and sectoral skills alliances
§ Update on other social affairs dossiers: “Employment package”, Restructuring, CSR and Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSD’s)
During this meeting organised by BusinessEurope, the following subjects were discussed:
§ Tripartite Social Summit on 18 October 2012: information on theme and designation of the EEN member to be included in the BusinessEurope delegation
§ Restructuring: exchange of information on lobbying activities regarding European Parliament report
§ Disclosure of non-financial information: exchange of information on upcoming Commission proposal
§ Activities in the cross-industry social dialogue: working time and opening of negotiations on framework of actions for youth employment
§ Activities in the sectoral social dialogue: exchange of information and ongoing social impact assessments
§ Update on other social affairs dossiers: economic governance; posting of workers/Monti II; MSDs
18/09/2012 - IMCO-Committee meeting on the reform of public procurement rules (first phase of consideration of amendments regarding clusters 1 to 5) at the European Parliament
This meeting was dedicated to the first phase of consideration of amendments regarding the proposed reform and can be summarized as follows. The purpose was to consider the amendments regarding the thematic clusters 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, which are linked with the Rapporteur’s draft report of May 2012 (see in this regard our Secretariat note of 25th May 2012). Indeed, the Rapporteur Marc Tarabella had created a list of ten thematic clusters in order to structure the discussion.
At the beginning of the meeting, he presented the state of play of the IMCO-Committee work after the summer break and explained that he wishes to now study more closely these ten clusters with IMCO members. His main objectives concerning the five first clusters are: to simplify rules, to create efficient and transparent rules, to reduce administrative burden, to develop e-procurement and to allow for a better access of SMEs in public procurement. After a question of the IMCO-Committee Chairman Malcolm Harbour concerning the method chosen in terms of futur work of compromise on the 1.593 amendments presented, the Rapporteur provides an update of the indicative calendar of the legislative procedure, as follows:
· 25th September 2012: In camera IMCO meeting - Shadows' discussions
· 10th October 2012: In camera IMCO meeting - Shadows' discussions
· 5th November 2012: Second phase of consideration of amendments (clusters 6 to 10) in the IMCO-Committee
· 28th November 2012: Consideration of compromise amendments in the IMCO-Committee
· 29th November 2012: Vote of adoption in the IMCO-Committee
· 2013: Vote in plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (estimate)
Following this update, the six Shadow Rapporteurs gave their opinion on the dossier. Indeed, Frank Engel (EPP), Jorgo Chatzimarkakis (ALDE), Heide Rühle (Greens), Malcolm Harbour (ECR), Dennis de Jong (GUE) and Matteo Salvini (EFD) represent the different political groups within IMCO-Committee. These IMCO members will have a decisive influence on the votes of the MEP’s of their political groups at the time the public procurement reform will be discussed in plenary session at the European Parliament. Their various comments stressed the absolute need to find good compromises on the final text in order to have a revised Directive, which is efficient and meets its key objectives.
Each of them highlighted his/her points of satisfaction and of disagreement regarding the reform and the amendments proposed. In this regard, a working document named “Shadows’ work plan” was distributed and published on 19 September on the IMCO website. It proposes a draft list of controversial issues by cluster, detailed information per cluster and informative timetable and order of discussions within the IMCO-Committee.
After the exchange of views with the Shadow Rapporteurs, seven other IMCO members asked the Rapporteur on technical questions related to the legislative procedure, in particular on the calendar, internal communication and work of compromise. Finally, a representative of the European Council explained that the proposed reform would be discussed at Council level between the end of October and the beginning of November 2012.
18/09/2012 - Public hearing at EMPL-Committee on the Commission’s proposal for an enforcement of the Posting of Workers Directive (PWD) at the European Parliament
In view of the draft report of the Rapporteur Danuta Jazlowiecka (EPP), the EP Employment Committee (EMPL) organised a public hearing on the enforcement of the PWD in the framework of the provision of services. The main aim was to open the debate on this very controversial issue. The EFCI Secretariat participated in this hearing, especially to obtain inside information on eventual changes on the calendar of the legislative procedure within the European Parliament.
The public hearing was organised around the presentations of four experts who were invited to give their opinion on the proposed enforcement directive. Werner Buelen (European Federation of Building and Woodworkers), Professor Yves Jorens (International Research Institute on social fraud, University of Ghent), Stig Nørgaard (Danish Ministry of Employment) and Thomas Schleicher (European Construction Industry Federation) give their viewpoint on the main issues of the proposed reform. From their particular perspective – trade unions, researcher, national employment administration, and employers - they provided concrete examples of the situation of workers and employers under the system of the PWD.
After their speeches, an exchange of views took place with EMPL-Committee members and can be summarized as follows. Several EMPL-committee members asked the experts on specific points related to the Commission’s proposal, this in order to better understand the main sources of problem in the current enforcement of the existing directive. At this occasion, the President of the European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) Thomas Schleicher strongly supported the position of the EFCI with regard to the article 9 of the Commission’s proposal (see the EFCI position paper sent to the Rapporteur Danuta Jazlowiecka on 13 June 2012). Indeed, Mr Schleicher considered that the Article 9 is not acceptable in its current wording. As proposed by the Commission, the translation of the relevant documents in situation of posting, can be only required as long as “these documents are not excessively long and standardised forms are generally used for such documents” (Article 9, paragraph 1, sub-paragraph c).
He emphasised that a correct application and enforcement of the PWD can only be ensured if appropriate control measures can take place effectively, which is not the case in the current wording of the proposal. On the other hand, the representative of the Danish Ministry of Employment said that the Article 9 should be deleted, as it would hinder the free movement of cross-border services.
The Rapporteur Danuta Jazlowiecka concluded the debate by asserting her willingness to find the right balance to create the necessary legal security both for employers and workers in order to ensure the free movement of services in the whole EU. The timetable of the legislative procedure did not change since June 2012 and is currently as follows:
· 28 November 2012: Second exchange of views in the EMPL-Committee
· 13 December 2012: Deadline for amendments
· January 2013: Consideration of amendments in the EMPL-Committee
· February 2013: Consideration of compromise amendments in the EMPL-Committee
· End of February 2013: Vote of adoption in the EMPL-Committee
· April-May 2013: Vote in plenary at the European Parliament (estimate)
Finally, the Rapporteur closed the meeting by explaining that the European Commission decided on 11 September to withdraw its proposed regulation on posted workers, known as “Monti II”. Following the fact that 12 national parliaments called on the Council to re-examine the regulation proposal, these 12 Member States considered that this regulation - that was due to set up a new balance between the principle of the free provision of services and the right to carry out collective actions – as going too far and violating the principle of subsidiarity.