EU: the European Commission makes proposals for a European Labour Authority (ELA)
On 13 March, the Commission presented a legislative proposal detailing the tasks and resources for this new body that aims to develop worker, trainee and apprentice mobility, provide operational and technical support to national bodies in order to ensure mobility related rules are upheld, and provide a mediation service in cases of cross-border disputes, especially in situations of company restructuring. If the EU Parliament and the EU Member States support the proposal the new ELA could become operational in 2019.
ELA goals. The ELA would have three primary goals. It would provide mediation and resolution support in cases of cross border disputes between national bodies or in cases of company restructuring activity affecting several EU Member States. In terms of company restructurings the ELA could gather together representatives from the company's workers and management as well as the relevant competent authorities and Member States' public employment services bodies in order to seek a resolution that would minimize any negative effects on workers. The ELA would also support cooperation between the different national authorities when addressing cross-border situations, by helping them ensure the simplest and easiest enforcement of EU protection and mobility rules. So for instance the ELA will improve information exchange, support stronger national authority capabilities and provide technical and logistics support so the authorities can carry out coordinated inspections, for example in the case of posting of workers. Thirdly and finally, the ELA will provide EU citizens and employers with information on employment, apprenticeship, mobility, hiring, and training opportunities as well as information on the rights and duties pertaining to living and working in another EU Member State.
ELA structure. This new decentralized EU agency will comprise a permanent structure with approximately 140 staff (some of whom will be deployed across the EU Member States and act as national liaison agents). The ELA will be headed by a board of directors made up of representatives from each EU Member state and the European Commission. The new body will also have access to the expertise of a dedicated consultancy group comprising EU social partners and synergies with current agencies will be ensured by relying on their expertise in the areas of skills and competences forecasting, occupational health and safety, managing company restructuring, and combatting undeclared informal work. In addition, a certain number of currently existing committees and networks will be integrated, thereby streamlining inter-Member State cooperation and eliminating fragmentation. The regulation proposal suggests an annual budget for the proposed ELA of approximately €50 million.