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Commission proposes to improve application of workers' rights to free movement

26/04/2013 Commission proposes to improve application of workers' rights to free movement

The European Commission has proposed measures to ensure the better application of EU law on the right of EU citizens to work in another Member State.

The proposal, if approved by the European Parliament and Council, would help to ensure real and effective application of existing legislation. Member States would be required to:

  • create national contact points providing information, assistance and advice so that EU migrant workers, and employers, are better informed about their rights
  • provide appropriate means of redress at national level
  • allow labour unions, NGOs and other organisations to launch administrative or judicial procedures on behalf of individual workers in cases of discrimination
  • give better information for EU migrant workers and employers in general.

The rationale behind the proposal was demonstrated in an October 2010 public opinion survey conducted by the Commission that found that 67% of respondents felt "not well-informed" or not informed at all regarding their rights as EU citizens. This lack of awareness is event not only among individuals, but also among private as well as public employers.

While EU rules on free movement of workers are long-established, the way in which they are applied in practice can give rise to barriers and discriminatory practices (perceived or real) for EU migrant workers when working or looking for work in another Member State.

In 2012, 6.6 million EU citizens lived and worked in a EU country other than their own. They represent 3.1 % of workers in the EU. An additional 1.2 million people live in one EU country but work in another.


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