By Dave Uwakwe
Four EU countries have applied to host the future European Labour Authority (ELA), according to a press release by the European Commission on Wednesday. Nicosia (Cyprus), Sofia (Bulgaria), Riga (Latvia) and Bratislava (Slovakia) are officially in the running to host the new agency which will oversee the enforcement of EU rules covering everything from reforms to the Posted Worker Directive to resolving economic differences between richer and poorer EU countries.
Pushed for by the social democratic party in Brussels (S&D), the Authority will have an initial budget of 50 million euros and a staff of about 140 people.
In a statement announcing the candidate countries, the Commission said “The aim of the ELA is to assist member states in implementing EU legal acts in the areas of labour mobility across the Union and of social security coordination. It will also support member states in the cross-border enforcement of relevant Union law, including facilitating concerted and joint inspections.
Member States will not be forced to work with the new authority but will instead be able to contribute on a voluntary basis.
The European Parliament gave the new authority the green light in February following a year of analysis and proposals with the aim of creating a unified set of work policies across the Union, and endowing Brussels with a body capable of regulating the gig economy and combat abuses and social dumping affecting mobile employees and freelancers.
According to estimates by Brussels, in fact, there are 17 million workers who work in a country other than their country of origin some of whom end up being exploited due to anti-competitive practices, such as the adoption of lower wages or the absence of guarantees and protections that would be provided if they were working in their home country.
A decision on the location for the agency is expected to be taken on the 13 June in Luxembourg. The ELA is expected to be fully operational by 2023.