Marianne Thyssen.jpg
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen
Photograph: EPA/LAURENT DUBRULE

The European Commission on Wednesday decided to pursue its proposed Posted Workers directive, saying that it did not violate the subsidiarity principle over which it received a yellow card from national parliaments to stop the legislation.

We have carefully analysed all arguments presented by national parliaments and we jointly discussed the reasons for their concern. Taking everything into account, we have decided to maintain our proposal as it entirely complies with the principle of subsidiarity. Posting workers, in its essence, is a cross-border issue, said Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility.

On March 8, the European Commission proposed amendments to the Posted Workers directive in order to prevent social dumping, unfair competition in salaries  of workers coming from different member states. Under the European legislation, the posting of workers allows a company to temporarily send its employees to work in other EU countries while continuing to pay social security contributions in the country of origin.

However, under this principle, companies from poorer member states would lose their competitive advantage and would not be able to get jobs in wealthier member states which would have a negative impact on employment.

Eastern European countries dislike the idea, as they see it as a threat to their competitive advantage of being able to pay lower wages.

Eleven national parliaments (Denmark, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Slovakia) invoked yellow cards in response to the revised directive and made use of the so-called “Subsidiarity Control Mechanism” introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, according to which one third of the votes assigned to national parliaments require the European Commission to review its proposal.

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