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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Brussels Commentary Employment Committee June 19th - 20th 2013

Brussels Commentary Employment Committee June 19th - 20th 2013

Wednesday "Tackling Youth Unemployment, possible ways out". Yet again they talk about unemployment without actually putting forward concrete proposals. That's because the Euro is collapsing and European industry is losing out to other parts of the world. European goods are becoming uncompetetive.

But we did hear that people should be allowed to work away from their member state, and we certainly do not want to stop free movement! We need a European future, not a local one, while respecting the working practices of member states! Among this we were told that fewer polish people were leaving Poland and that more were returning home.

Thursday Business was scheduled for a 9.00 start followed by voting at 9.30, but the secretariat did not turn up until about 9.45 when voting started under a deputy, since the President turned up at about 11.00 am . This massive voting session finished at about 12.45 and all other business was postponed. Having arrived the President was challenged about the sequence of votes, promoting a lively exchange in which she relied on "Standing Orders". I wonder if that had caused her late arrival and that of the secretariat.

Among the reports finally voted on was that on "Gender balance among non-executive directors of companies on stock exchanges". It seeks to establish 40% of each sex on these Boards, without saying what the remaining 20% should be! The proposed plan "encourages" companies to work towards this, with perhaps government legislation, and to show that efforts are being made, with explanations given for failure. Member states could suffer infringement proceedings if there are no national rules and sanctions would only be imposed on companies if they were not seen to be trying.

Voting was dominated by the "Posting of Workers" Directive, to which there were over 600 amendments. This is intended to ensure that workers posted by their employers to work outside their own country, but within the EU, receive all the benefits that are available for workers move elsewhere on their own account. It is of course a legal minefield but that does not stop the EU from trying to make water-tight regulations to cope.

This report was only adopted by 23 votes to 18 with 6 abstentions. Such a relatively narrow result ís a reflection of this committee's uncertainty, for once. There was then further debate on what to do with it, send it on to Plenary for final approval, or enter into negotiations with the Council of Ministers to decide its future. The latter course needed a mandate to send it to Council, which, after thought, I supported, as did the committee. No doubt this will proceed to conciliation in due course; a very longwinded affair.

Derek Clark MEP Brussels, 20th June 2013.         

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