The European Labour Authority – progress report

Date: 27, June 2018
The European Commission presented in March this year a proposal to establish a European Labour Authority (ELA). We will in this article present the progress on this file and a possible timeline for the legislative process.

The objectives of the European Labour Authority is mainly to: 

  1. facilitate access to information on rights and obligations in cases of cross-border mobility for employees, employers and national administrations
  2. support coordination between Member States in cross-border enforcement of relevant EU law
  3. mediate between MS authorities in order to resolve cross-border disputes between them
  4. facilitate solutions in case of labour market disruptions

The idea of having an European Labour Authority have been promoted by several stakeholders, industry and politician’s for a long time, especially in the road transport sector, where the high cross-border aspect makes it quite difficult to have an overview over and an efficient control of compliance of the different national labour regulations.

For the European Labour Authority to be as efficient as possible, the European Commission have proposed that member states should second National Liaison Officers to the agency, in order to create a link between the different national administrations to facilitate the cooperation between the member states. This have already been done with EUROPOL and EUROJUST.

Moreover, many have been skeptical about the tasks of the ELA to intervene with national competences on labour rules. However, the European Commission have stated that the tasks of the agency will be limited to the support “of Member States in the implementation of the existing relevant EU legislation, in particular in the areas of cross-border labour mobility and social security coordination, including free movement of workers, posting of workers and highly mobile services”.

From the Member States point of view, there is a broad acceptance of the overall objectives of the proposals.  However, it has been pointed out that there is a need for more evidence to show the added value of such an agency, a concern that member states' influence will be reduced due to the new role of the ELA, concerns around the risk of administrative burdens and costs for member states and some concerns regarding the proposal of having joint inspections. From the Parliaments side in the Transport and Tourism Committee, there is also a broad agreement of the overall objectives and the necessity for a labour agency especially for the road transport sector. The concerns for some MEPs have however been the question of whether the ELA will have some actual sanction power, and if not if it will be able to be effective without it.

Regarding the timeline of the legislative process on this proposal, the European Parliament and the main committee for Employment and Social affairs foresees the report to be adopted at the October plenary or at the November plenary this year. For the Council, the Council preparatory bodies will continue the discussions, with a view to agreeing on a Council position hopefully under the Austrian Presidency, which is until December 2018.

You can read our NLA position on the establishment of a European Labour Authority here.