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Bringing down barriers to working in another EU country - 29/04/2013

Woman holding a pen looking at the jobs section of a newspaper © EU

New proposals would make it even easier for Europeans to go and work in another EU country.

EU citizens have a right to live and work in another EU country. That fundamental right benefits individual workers but also, through their skills, the economies of the countries where they go to work.

EU nationals working in another EU country should, in theory, enjoy equal treatment with locals in access to jobs, working conditions, social welfare and tax.

But in practice, many of the 10.7 million EU migrant workers face a range of discriminatory practices.

For example, governments or businesses may set discriminatory recruitment rules, quotas, or nationality requirements for specific types of jobs. Pay and promotion rules might not be the same as for nationals. Experience and professional qualifications might not be recognised in the same way, if at all.

These barriers serve to make more people reluctant pdf - 11 MB [11 MB] français (fr) to go and work in another EU country .

In response the Commission is proposing measures to make it easier for workers to exercise their EU work rights – in place now for some 50 years and guaranteed by the EU’s treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights The measures would require EU countries to:

  • provide official channels for EU migrant workers – and their employers – to get information, assistance and advice about these rights
  • establish means of redress when workers from other EU countries are discriminated against
  • allow labour unions and other organisations to launch administrative or legal procedures on behalf of individuals whose rights are not upheld.

By informing people, the measures would help people exercise their rights more effectively. A 2010 survey pdf - 4 MB [4 MB] français (fr) found 67% of people feel they are not well informed or are not at all informed of their rights as EU citizens.

Next steps

The proposals must be approved by EU governments and the European Parliament before becoming law.

Help and advice on your rights as an EU citizen

Making citizens' life easier – follow current proposals

2013 – European year of citizens

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