EU Must Increase Intra-EU Mobility
Intra-EU mobility is too low. The voluntary use of the freedom of mobility must be promoted and the European Commission, Council and Parliament have to direct attention to this task. “Real Freedom of Mobility” is the name of the recently adopted position for one of three priority themes of Eurocadres, addressing the issue.
The free movement of people within an open labour market is a corner stone of the European Union. Eurocadres is a strong supporter of increased mobility. Only 3.4 per cent of citizens of working age (15-64 years) from an EU Member State country resides in another EU country. We need more incentives for people to make use of their freedom to move across borders and thereby minimising the labour gap and skills mismatch.
“We need more incentives for people to make use of their freedom to move across borders and thereby minimising the labour gap and skills mismatch.”
At the same time, mobility has to be voluntary. Economic hardship and bad working conditions can often be strong motivators for mobility. However, if these are the only reasons for the individual to leave the country, these negative conditions can lead to brain drain.
The Essential Work of Trade Unions
Trade unions have an important job in promoting good working conditions also for mobile workers coming from another country. Eurocadres is promoting a code of conduct of fair mobility which addresses practical and psychological obstacles to mobility and calls social partners to deal with those obstacles.
Making use of Qualifications and Competences when Being Mobile
One of the many obstacles to mobility that professionals can face is the recognition of qualifications and competences. A university degree or acquired professional qualification from one EU Member State should be easy to make use of in another EU Member State as well.
Mobility should not stop at the EU borders. Currently EU is negotiating several international trade agreements. Eurocadres firmly believes that international trade agreements should facilitate temporary mobility of professionals and service providers. The agreements could establish a system for recognition of qualifications as well as improved mobility procedures for family members.
"International trade agreements should facilitate temporary mobility of professionals and service providers"
The Blue Card Directive and the Directive on intra-corporate transfers (ICT) are tools to foster exchange. They regulate the entrance of high qualified third-country nationals to the EU labour market. Equal treatment is under pressure, especially for employees entering the EU under the ICT Directive. The reason being that the Directive is linked to the Posting of Workers Directive. It contains provisions by which those employees would enjoy a protection of rights granted to employees under the Posting of Workers Directive. The past has unfortunately proven that this Directive has bypassed the EU labour legislation and national labour protection.
Mobility Challenges and Activities Needed
Immigration is of course not the only tool to tackle possible labour shortages in the future. Migration policies focusing on recruiting high-skilled labour from third countries should avoid brain-drain and economic damages in these countries. The improvement of working conditions, equality, investments in professional development, reconciliation of work and family life remain as key measures to combat the problems of the European labour market. Shortage of highly-skilled labour in key sectors needs quick solutions. The demography of Europe also poses a challenge.
Member States and the EU need to assume their responsibility to increase the level of investment in research, education and innovation in Europe in both private and public sector. This is the most important tool that can improve the competitiveness of Europe.
Read the full position Real Freedom of Mobility