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Citizens' Dialogue with Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska

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No EU country is able to compete alone with China and the United States. We should consolidate the common market.

Commissioner Elźbieta Bieńkowska

On 15 March, the European Labour Mobility Congress in Krakow hosted a Citizens’ Dialogue with Commissioner Elżbieta Bieńkowska. Approximately 300 people took part in the lively discussion, mainly on the posting of workers directive, Brexit and the future of Europe. The Congress organised in Krakow is the biggest annual event in Europe dedicated to the posting of workers.

Many questions from participants touched upon the Posting of Workers Directive. In their view, as it is now, it would have a negative impact on Polish workers. One participant wanted to know whether it would be possible to re-open discussions on this Directive.

Commissioner Bieńkowska shared these concerns by saying that the Directive goes against the principles of the free market, divides Europe into East and West. “But not only that, it also strengthens protectionism”, she added.

She presented her critical view on the current state of play of the EU common market. “Declarations of the EU leaders on how they love and support the common market are not true. They love it, if it serves their national interests”, she said.

Commissioner Bieńkowska once again made it clear that the EU Member States should cooperate even closer than now. “No EU country is able to compete alone with China and the United States. We should consolidate the common market”, she declared.

In the context of the Services Directive one young participant stated that Poland should promote somehow the fact that Polish small and medium-sized enterprises operating on the common market are competing with companies from the West on the basis of quality, and not only price.

Then, participants touched upon some of the Brexit related problems, by asking whether the European Commission is ready for a “no deal” scenario.

Commissioner Bieńkowska underlined that once it is clear what will happen, the European Commission will present concrete solutions in all specific areas. In her view, the UK was the biggest advocate of the common market. “I had their full support. Perhaps Poland should take its place after Brexit. But to achieve that, Poland has to have a political clout”, she said.

A final aspect that was raised by the audience was a question on whether the new European Parliament, after elections, will be more euro-sceptical than the current one.

Commissioner Bieńkowska emphasised that anything can happen. “It could be very anti-European and very pro-European as well”, she concluded.


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Practical information

15 March 2019, 13.00 - 14.00 (CET)
ICE Kraków Congress Centre,
ul. Marii Konopnickiej 17