Boosting the freedom of movement for workers

Measures to help EU citizens who want to work in another member state by clarifying their right to freedom of movement, providing suitable means of redress at national level if they suffer discrimination, and setting up contact and information points in the member states have been adopted by employment MEPs.

According to European Commission figures, 6.6 million EU citizens lived and worked in a member state other than their own in 2012, accounting for over 3% of all workers in the EU. A further 1.2 million people lived in one EU country but worked in another. A 2011 study found that 15% of EU citizens would not consider working in another member state because they felt that there were too many obstacles.

Existing legislation stipulates that EU workers who face discrimination on the grounds of nationality must be granted effective means of legal protection and redress. MEPs voted to enhance the role of social partners (NGOs, associations, trade unions) in supporting victims of discrimination in legal proceedings.

MEPs amended the new directive proposed by the Commission to specify clearly which groups of workers are affected by existing EU rules. They are: permanent, seasonal, frontier and self-employed workers but not posted workers.

The draft directive also clarifies the scope of the rules, stipulating that they cover access to employment; conditions of employment, in particular as regards remuneration and dismissal; access to social and tax advantages; membership of trade unions; and access to training, housing and education for children. MEPs also amended the text to include health and safety at work and access to public employment services.

The text adopted by the committee sets out Parliament's mandate to start negotiations with national governments in the Council.

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