During the 2017 State of the Union Speech on 13 September, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, announced plans for a European Labour Authority:
“We should make sure that all EU rules on labour mobility are enforced in a fair, simple and effective way by a new European inspection and enforcement body. It seems absurd to have a Banking Authority to police banking standards, but no common Labour Authority for ensuring fairness in our single market. We will create one.”
Building on this announcement, the European Commission has explained in a factsheet that the European Labour Authority will support the growing number of people who work outside of their home member state, now 16 million, double what it was ten years ago.
Responsibilities of the European Labour Authority
Within the same factsheet, the European Commission sets out the responsibilities of the authority:
- Strengthen administrative cooperation and mutual trust for fair mobility in the Single Market, for example by solving possible disputes between national authorities.
- Pool existing tools for cross-border mobility, such as the European job mobility portal (EURES), EU social security coordination, the European Health Insurance and the EU blue card, to provide a one-stop shop for citizens, business and public authorities.
- Fight abuse of labour and social legislation and organise joint cross-border control activities.
- Build on existing agencies and structures to better manage cross-border and joint activities, for instance in terms of skills forecasting, health and safety at work and the management of restructuring and tackling undeclared work.
Relevance of the Labour Authority for social services
There are a number of ways this new authority could connect with local public social services. For instance, by including social services in a possible integrated structure (e.g. a one-stop shop) on cross-border mobility to raise awareness of available social support. The authority might also help develop solutions to problems caused when people move abroad for work, for example, children left behind by parents finding work abroad is a serious problem in Romania.
In addition, by fulfilling a skills forecasting role the Labour Authority could work with social services to provide expertise on relevant training for people marginalised from the labour market, perhaps identifying possible routes to employment for them.
Greater detail on the proposed authority is needed before more in-depth analysis can be conducted into its relevance for public social services. The Commission will outline its plans for the authority by the end of 2018 and ESN will continue to monitor and report on developments regarding the establishment of the Labour Authority.