Today the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) approved the Resolution on the Posting of Workers Directive, submitted by the European Union Affairs Committee. Estonia finds that the draft directive of the European Commission is in conflict with the principles of subsidiarity and proportionality.
With this proposal for a Directive, the European Commission wishes to complement the framework established in 1996, and to create a better balance between the objectives of promoting and facilitating cross-border provision of services, protecting posted workers, and ensuring equal conditions for foreign and local competitors.
“We find that the proposed amendments to the Directive, by which the European Commission wishes to reduce unfair practices in connection with the posting of workers, and to ensure that the work done in one and the same location receives equal pay, may harm the competitiveness of businesses when they provide services in other European Union Member States, and may limit the free movement of services,” Chairman of the European Union Affairs Committee Kalle Palling said when presenting the draft Resolution.
In Palling’s opinion, it is doubtful whether the scale or the effects of the proposed measures make them better achievable at the Union level. Like Estonia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Latvia, Croatia and Denmark have submitted their reasoned opinions. Domestic procedures are under way also in Hungary and Slovakia.
Palling explained that the existing directive already ensured a sufficient protection for posted workers, which was further guaranteed by the measures provided in the new Enforcement Directive.
“Difference in rates of pay is one of the legitimate elements of the competitive advantage of service providers, and therefore it is doubtful whether the principle of equal pay for equal work in the same location is in conformity to the principles of a single market,” Palling said.
Eiki Nestor, who took the floor on behalf of the Social Democratic Party Faction in the debate, was of a totally opposite opinion. He said that he could not support the draft Resolution because the difference in rates of pay could in no case be a competitive advantage, and equal work in the same location deserved equal pay.
Martin Helme, who took the floor on behalf of the Conservative People’s Party Faction in the debate, said that the Estonian Conservative People’s Party supported the protection of the principle of sovereignty and subsidiarity, but had still proposed to reject the bill because they wanted to see how the members of the Riigikogu would vote on the issue of sovereignty.
On the motion of the European Union Affairs Committee, the final vote on the draft Resolution was held. The Resolution was supported by the Riigikogu with 55 votes in favour (28 against, 2 abstentions).
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