Although it is against the law since 1968, discrimination of EU workers working in another EU country on the basis of nationality is still not properly addressed in practice.
It deters many Europeans from working and looking for a job within the Single Market which is particularly worrying in times of crisis, as data shows that free movement of workers is good both for the mobile workers and for workers and employers of the host country.
In April 2013, the European Commission proposed concrete ways of overcoming these obstacles. The August edition of Social Agenda explains how in its special feature.
The 2013 EU strategic report on cohesion documents a significant increase in the number of people supported in the area of employment, from around 10 million annually before 2010 to some 15 million since then, as well as a significant acceleration of results since 2010 in the area of support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs): almost 400 000 new jobs were created, half of which in 2010-2011.
From 2007 to the end of 2011, there were 12.5 million participants in ESF actions to support access to employment through training or other forms of assistance. Two thirds of all participants were inactive or unemployed. As a result, 2.4 million found a job within six months of completing the intervention.
In the area of lifelong learning, the ESF supported around 5 million young people. 5.5 million participants had low skills. In the area of social inclusion, so far over 14.5 million final recipients were covered and a broad range of target groups reached.
In the third quarter of 2012, only 3.1% of EU labour force lived in another EU country than their own. And 15% would not consider working in another Member State because they felt there were too many obstacles.
Only 0.25% of workers move between EU Member States each year.
In 2012, 15.2 million foreign citizens worked in the EU27, accounting for 7% of total employment. Among these foreign citizens, 6.6 million were citizens of another EU Member State and 8.6 million were citizens of a country outside the EU.