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Free movement of workers: Commission welcomes Council adoption of Directive to improve enforcement of workers' rights

14/04/2014 Free movement of workers: Commission welcomes Council adoption of Directive to improve enforcement of workers' rights

The European Commission welcomes today's adoption by the EU's Council of Ministers of a new Directive to ensure the better application at national level of EU citizens' right to work in another Member State.

The new rules, proposed by the Commission in April 2013, aim to bridge the gap between rights and reality and will make it easier for people working or looking for a job in another country to exercise their rights in practice. Member States now have two years to implement the Directive at national level.

The Directive, proposed on 26th April 2013, aims to remove existing obstacles to the free movement of workers, such as the lack of awareness of EU rules among public and private employers and the difficulties faced by mobile citizens to get information and assistance in the host Member States.

To overcome these barriers and prevent discrimination, the Directive will require Member States to ensure:

  • one or more bodies at national level will provide support and legal assistance to EU migrant workers with the enforcement of their rights
  • effective legal protection of rights (including for example protection from victimisation for EU migrant workers who seek to enforce their rights) and
  • easily accessible information in more than one EU language on the rights enjoyed by EU migrant workers and jobseekers.

These rules will benefit mobile workers but also employers, who will be better informed when hiring people from another EU country.

Independently of this new legislation, the Commission, as guardian of the Treaty, will continue to pursue infringement procedures where necessary against Member States in cases where national law is not in line with the Treaty and the Regulation.