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Free movement of workers should be better promoted as a core principle


12 Mar 2014


Social Europe & Jobs
The European Parliament today adopted, by an overwhelming majority, the Directive on measures facilitating the exercise of rights of free movement of workers within the EU. The aim of this Directive is to enhance the free movement of workers.
Freedom of movement for workers is one of the four fundamental freedoms on which the Single Market is based. It is one of the core values of the European Union and a fundamental element of EU citizenship. Even though the right to freely move and work in another Member States is enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty and in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, while Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 details the rights derived from the freedom of movement of workers, and defines the specific areas where discrimination on the grounds of nationality is prohibited, there are still lots of unjustified obstacles laid down by Member States. According to the latest statistics, only 3% of EU citizens have lived in a Member State other than their own, while many of them continue to face problems in exercising their rights, like hesitation in recognising qualifications.
Edit Bauer MEP, Rapporteur on the Directive, welcomed the first reading agreement which should bring positive elements and eliminate obstacles for the free movement of workers. She highlighted in her speech that the Directive in not modifying the rights defined by the Regulation 492/2011, its aim is to facilitate the application of the principle of free movement of workers and combat discrimination on the grounds of nationality.
“One of the core elements of the Directive is that it calls for closer and more intense cooperation between national authorities both at national and European level. If Member States choose to delegate the issue of free movement to more than one body, then it has to be clear who is in charge of coordination. We also call for establishing a network of contact points to clarify questions and improve the mutual understanding between Member States. I believe that if Member States use this network, many obstacles can be avoided or solved and it will lead to the real facilitation of free movement of workers”, added Mrs Bauer.
“Often, citizens are not aware of their rights, therefore the Directive defines that every citizen should have access to free, easily understandable, comprehensive and up-to-date information and assistance, wherever and whenever needed.”
“The European Union is the biggest and most prosperous market of goods, services and capitals. If we want it to be prosperous to its full potential, we have to ensure that all EU workers have access to this huge European labour market and every EU worker is treated equally, no matter which Member States he/she comes from”, concluded the Rapporteur.
The EPP Group is by far the largest political group in the European Parliament with 274 Members from 27 Member States.
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