Important message from the EU Commission

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Wanja Lundby-Wedin comments on the action plan for the internal market 2012 presented by the EU Commission on 13 April.
It is satisfying that the European Commission consents to the demands of the European trade union movement by announcing that it will present a regulation aimed at improving the balance between EU economic freedoms and fundamental trade union rights. LO has been engaged in this issue since long. In LO’s view, the current proposal is an important step in order to rectify the problems created by the Laval judgement.

The action plan for the internal market is the result of a consultation process initiated in November 2010. During the consultation LO, along with the ETUC, has reiterated the demand regarding a regulation aimed at strengthening trade union rights in relation to the EU economic freedoms.

According to Wanja Lundby-Wedin, LO will continuously be active in the Commission’s outlining of a regulation. LO considers that two problems must be addressed, in order to make the regulation effectful. Firstly, the assessment of the legitimacy of sympathy action must take place on the national level within the national legal system, instead of on the EU level. Secondly, in the fields that are regulated by collective agreements, there is a need to sharpen the criteria for what is to be considered as an obstacle to the internal market freedoms.

The European trade union movement’s demands as regards the Posting Directive as well as a Social Progress Protocol are unfortunately not included in the Commission’s action plan.

The proposals presented by the Commission are however an important step in the right direction, by providing a solution to some of the problems which have emerged due to the conflict between economic freedoms and fundamental trade union rights. Subsequently, we also need to materialise the demand for a revision of the Posting Directive as well as the requirement that a Social Progress Protocol must be added to the Treaty, Wanja Lundby-Wedin concludes.