On 14 February, the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the European Commission’s proposal of March 2018 to establish a European Labour Authority (ELA) as a new EU agency. The ELA will mainly have operative tasks, to enhance administrative cooperation between Member States in the field of labour mobility as the number of mobile EU citizens – living and working in another EU member state - keeps increasing.
This initiative is another concrete deliverable of the European Pillar of Social Rights, proclaimed in November 2017 and comes after the January political agreement on a new directive on work-life balance and the early February agreement on a new directive on more transparent and predictable working conditions.
ELA’s activities will relate to rules on labour mobility and the posting of workers, social security coordination and specific legislation in the road transport sector. In particular, the agency’s focus will be on:
- facilitating access to information by individuals and employers on rights and obligations and relevant services connected to cross-border EU mobility situations;
- facilitating cooperation and exchange of information between national authorities;
- coordinating and supporting concerted and joint inspections by national authorities in order to fight abuse, fraud and undeclared work (the ELA will not have investigative powers on its own – these are still governed under law of Member States concerned);
- providing mediation between national administrations (NOT between individuals) or in case of disputes concerning the application of EU law;
- carrying out analyses and risk assessments on issues of cross-border labour mobility;
- supporting capacity building national authorities through guidance, mutual learning and training.
In the initial proposal, reference was made also to the task of facilitating cooperation between relevant stakeholders for cross-border labour market disruptions, eg large-scale restructurings or relocations as well as company closures impacting employment or leading to collective redundancies. At this stage It is unsure if this is still part of the current agreement.
More about the background, tasks and objectives of the ELA in this European Commission Q&A fact sheet.
Once the Member States’ Permanent Representatives confirm the agreement within the COREPER, the regulation setting up the new agency will be subject to a final vote by the plenary of the European Parliament and a formal adoption by the Council. It is only then that the seat of the new 140 staff strong agency will be decided, no doubt leading to more political discussions.