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September - November 2012

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01/10/2012 - Liaison Forum at DG EMPL on the functioning of the EU social dialogue

The “Liaison Forum”, which is organised several times per year by DG EMPL, offers a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on subjects of interest for EU social partners’ representatives. This meeting was essentially dedicated to the general logistical functioning of the European social dialogue Committee meetings in times of economic crisis and budgetary constraints. The aim is to improve the general functioning of the European social dialogue in order to increase the commitment of EU social partners, but as well to produce more concrete results and tools from the EU social dialogue framework. This debate can be summarized as follows: Firstly, Jean-Paul Tricart (Director of the Unit B1 in charge of Social dialogue and industrial relations within the DG EMPL) explained to participants that the DG EMPL will see a decrease of 10% in its budget lines for the years to come. This situation implies a necessary optimization of its financial ressources, in particular on the management of the 41 European social dialogue Committees. A discussion took place between participants and the Commission’s officials and European representatives of various sectors express their viewpoint. A big majority estimates that these rules will improve the global functioning of the EU social dialogue when financial ressources are increasingly decreasing. Secondly, Mr Tricart presents the first newsletter of his Unit related to EU social dialogue. This quarterly newsletter aims to provide information on the European social dialogue, its functioning, its tools and its achievements. In this regard, members can subscribe through the following email address in case they want to receive the newsletter: EMPL-SD-NEWSLETTER@ec.europa.eu

15/10/2012 - Single Market conference at the European Parliament

Organised at the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Single Market, this high-level conference was divided into three parts: opening session by José Manuel Barroso, Malcolm Harbour, Mario Monti and Michel Barnier; achievements of the Single Market; and challenges of the Single Market.  

The most important session of the event consisted in presenting the new Commission’s initiatives proposed two weeks before in the communication, “Single Market Act II – Together for new growth”, which aims to help creating the right conditions to fully exploit the Single Market’s potential (see in this regard the Secretariat note of 12th October 2012).

To this end, the main speakers, especially Commissionaire Barnier, highlighted three needed actions: to carefully follow up the implementation of EU legislation at Member State level, to create the correct legal “ecosystem” as to foster and develop entrepreneurship in the EU and to reduce as much as possible the administrative burden for companies and consumers.

23/10/2012 - European social dialogue Committee meeting on industrial cleaning

Jointly organised by UNI-Europa and the EFCI, this meeting was dedicated to the following issues:

·       Presentation of the methodology and results of the representativeness study on the cleaning industry carried out by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound):

Presentation of the study by Christian Welz, Research Manager, Working Conditions and Industrial Relations Department, Eurofound

Questions and discussion by participants

·       Discussion on the draft working programme 2013-2014 to be adopted at the first meeting of 2013

→ Presentation of proposals by UNI-Europa and the EFCI

→ Questions and discussion by participants

·       Update on the revision of the EU directive on public procurement

General presentation of the Commission proposal and the proposed amendments in the parliamentary Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO)

Presentation of the joint position by the social partners of the industrial cleaning, private security and catering sectors

Questions and discussion on possible further joint lobbying initiatives

·       Muscular-skeletal disorders (MSDs) and ergonomics in the cleaning industry

Discussion on future European Commission initiatives and possible joint actions

05/11/2012 - IMCO-Committee meeting on the revision of the EU directive on public procurement (second phase of consideration of amendments regarding clusters 6 to 10) at the European Parliament

The meeting can be summarized as follows: The purpose was to consider the amendments regarding the thematic clusters 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, which are linked with the Rapporteur’s draft report of May 2012 (see in this regard the Secretariat notes of 25th May and 20th September 2012). Indeed, the Rapporteur Marc Tarabella had created a list of ten thematic clusters in order to structure the debate.

At the beginning of the meeting, he presented the state of play of negotiations that took place in the IMCO-Committee since September. He explained that on clusters 1 and 4, discussions are almost closed and added that he wishes to continue to study closely the clusters 2, 3, 7 and 8 with IMCO members. Clusters 5, 9 and 10 have not yet been addressed. As several in camera IMCO meetings took place since September, he reported that the work of compromise was on good way but did not want to further explain the content of the internal technical IMCO work.

 

Furthermore, he reported that other in camera meetings will take place in November and informed that the approximate time-table of the legislative procedure is as follows:

·   28th November 2012: Consideration of compromise amendments in the IMCO-Committee

·   29th November 2012: Vote of adoption in the IMCO-Committee

·   February 2013: Vote in plenary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (estimate)

 

Following this update, several Shadow Rapporteurs and other IMCO members representing the different political groups within the parliamentary Committee explained their different points of satisfaction and disagreement with the work undertaken until now. All IMCO members will have a great influence on the votes of the MEP’s of their political groups at the time the public procurement revision will be debated in the plenary session at the European Parliament in 2013. Their diverse comments stressed again the necessity to find good compromises on the final text as to produce a revised Directive, which is effective and meets its main objectives, which are: to simplify and make the rules clearer and more transparent, to reduce the administrative burden in particular for companies and public entities and to promote a fair competition in public procurement.

 

After this exchange of views, the Rapporteur answered to various questions and stressed again his willingness to eliminate the criterion of the lowest price in the new directive. To underline his argument, he took the example of sound companies in the cleaning industry and in other sectors, which respect collective agreements and the social rights of their workers, but which loose public contracts due to unsound companies proposing prices that do not respect the legal obligations for wages, social security contributions and taxes.

To conclude, he explained that the proposed revision will be discussed by the Council on 21 November 2012, as a mandate for agreement has been given by Member States to the Council. The work of compromise between the European Parliament and the Council will therefore probably take place between December 2012 and February 2013.

09/11/2012 - 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:

§  Social partner involvement in economic governance: discussion on follow-up to the “employment package” and information on cross-industry social partner activities

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

§  Activities in the sectoral social dialogue: exchange of information, ongoing social impact assessments, Commission letter on organisation of EU social dialogue meetings (see above)

§  Update on other social affairs dossiers: posting of workers, restructuring, gender pay gap, CSR - disclosure of non-financial information and guidelines for self-regulation, musculoskeletal disorders (MSD’s)

28/11/2012 - IMCO-Committee meeting at the European Parliament (EP)

a.)   On the enforcement directive of the Posting of Workers’ Directive (PWD)

In the morning, the IMCO-Committee (Internal market) held a debate on this file. Indeed, the IMCO-Committee is in charge of giving its opinion on the proposed reform with as Rapporteur, the Danish MEP Emilie Turunen (Greens) who has published her draft opinion on 24 September 2012. During the debate, most of IMCO members considered that the reform contains numerous tricky issues, but were confident to reach balanced compromise amendments in the final IMCO opinion. With regard to Article 9 of the Commission proposal on the control measures, the majority of IMCO members are in favour of an open list in order to ensure clarity, legal certainty and transparency that companies can expect when they use the posting of workers across the EU. It was also recognised that a room for manoeuvre has to be given to Member States when they implement specific control measures.

b.)   On the EU reform of public procurement: consideration of compromise amendments

In the afternoon, the IMCO-Committee held a discussion to find compromises on the 1.593 amendments presented in the framework of the proposed reform. At this occasion, it was announced that the IMCO vote of adoption of the final report would be postponed from 29th November to 18th December 2012 as to find the relevant compromises between IMCO members. To this end, the Rapporteur announced that several in camera IMCO meetings would take place in the next weeks. The final IMCO report is expected to be published in January 2013.

28/11/2012 - EMPL-Committee meeting at the European Parliament (EP): debate on the draft report for an enforcement of the PWD published by the Rapporteur Danuta Jazlowiecka

After the publication on 8 November by the Rapporteur of her draft report with 58 amendments, the EMPL-Committee (Employment) held a debate on this controversial reform. Discussed and evaluated at the last EFCI Board meeting in Vienna, it was unfortunately acknowledged that this draft report did not improve the situation concerning the provisions enumerated in article 9. Even more, the Rapporteur aims to decrease the national control options by strongly defending the argument that for reasons of legal clarity national authorities would only be able to impose a restricted number of national control measures, as set out in article 9, paragraph 1, point a - d.

During the meeting, most of EMPL members expressed their discontent with the proposed 58 amendments and requested a more flexible application of article 9, thus allowing national authorities to apply additional control measures or administrative formalities. Therefore, the list of control measures should be kept open, in order to allow for other control mechanisms than those currently enumerated in article 9, paragraph 1, point a – d. Taking account of the importance to enable all EMPL-Committee members to eventually give their opinion on this major file, the deadline for amendments was postponed from 13th December 2012 to 8th January 2013.