General, preliminary comments on the proposal for a European Labour Authority

Date: 20, June 2018
As stated in the Commission proposal, there are over 2 million workers in the road transport sector who “cross intra-EU borders on a daily basis to transport goods or passengers”. Being representatives of transport operators, we support that the European Commission with this proposal aims at counter social dumping and facilitate the cooperation and coordination of citizens and businesses in Europe. Here are our comments:

We need harmonised enforcement and understanding of labour rules for mobile workers in order to create a level playing field and to have a sound and fair internal market for road transport. However, it is important that the creation of a European Labour Authority do not create additional red tape nornew or excessive administrative burden on individuals and companies operating across borders in Europe, but more clarity.Simplification and good functionality should be a key factor for this Agency. 

Moreover, we support the use of article 91 on transport of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union as one of the articles for the basis of the proposal, showing the importance of this highly mobile sector. Regarding the proposal recital 8, we are happy to see that the European Labour Authority should take into account and deal with the cross-border aspects of the application of sector specific rules for the road transport sector.

In addition, the Nordic Logistics Association welcomes the proposed tasks of the European Labour Authority, improving the cooperation and information exchange between national labour authorities, especially in those cases where the business is established in one country, but the activities are carried out in another or several other member states, such as in the transport sector. We also support the proposal and stress the importance of capacity building. The EU needs to assist in capacity building and create a framework for the labour market in the EU.  We also want to express our positive attitude towards the proposed task of the Labour Authority regarding sharing relevant information and services in order to create a harmonised understanding of rules and duties for both individuals and employers.

However, we stress that the establishment of a European Labour Authority should ensure that social partners are closely involved, and that the agency respects the different national labour market systems. We therefore call for more representatives for EU Social Partners, so that there will be good representation also in practise. In addition, we would like to stress that the principle of subsidiarity should be kept and respected in this regard.

On a final note, regarding the budgetary effects of the creation of the European Labour Authority, the total annual cost is in our view considered high (50,9 million Euros). A new agency shall not mean that total costs of current/upcoming functions would raise considerably, and we would like to see that the financing of the ELA should be done by re-targeting current sources of income. In other words, new restructuring of current agencies and their financing should be done in a balanced way without major additional costs.