Leaders say European Union must find agreement on posted workers directive

Posted August 25, 2017

The European directive for posted workers, as it is now applied, is "a betrayal of the fundamental aspects of the spirit of European legislation".

"The single European market and the free movement of workers is not meant to create a race to the bottom in terms of social regulations", Macron told reporters after meeting Kern.

According to the Romanian Presidential Administration, talks will focus on developing and deepening the bilateral strategic partnership relationship, as well as European, global and security affairs.

"Austria and France are on the same wavelength", Macron added.

France has long pressed for reform of the EU's Posted Workers Directive, which allows firms to send their cheaper workers to another European Union nation and keep them on existing employment terms, not those of the host country.

Macron is also pushing for tighter rules to protect workers in prosperous countries in Western Europe from cheaper labor.

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In doing so, firms do not have to make contributions to the host country's health and welfare systems - something that critics call "social dumping".

Although the posted workers issue affects less than one percent of the EU's workforce, experts say the trend is on the rise.

But there were contentious points about the current posted workers rule.

France meanwhile employed some 286,000 temporary workers in 2015 under the directive.

Backed by Germany and Austria, France now wants the duration of these job postings to be limited to 12 months, half the period proposed by the European Commission.

However, the so-called Visegrad Four group - Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic - say the proposal goes too far and tries to undercut their interests.

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The French president was also meeting the Czech and Slovak premiers, Bohuslav Sobotka and Robert Fico, on Wednesday in Salzburg, before travelling on to Romania and Bulgaria.

Macron and Iohannis will have a one-on-one meeting to hold official talks at the Cotroceni Presidential Palace, and afterwards they will hold a joint news conference, Agerpress reported. To become law, a revised Posted Workers Directive requires a qualified majority vote in the EU Council - not the support of all 28 nations.

Paris and Berlin are "completely" in agreement, according to French diplomats.

"Macron needs to deliver for French public opinion", Vimont said. Without reform, "this will lead to the dismantling of the European Union".

He also wants much deeper integration of the eurozone, including giving the 19-country currency bloc its own budget, finance minister, parliament and borrowing capacity.

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