Commitment for a social Europe, including the fight against social dumping in transport, is one of the key take-aways from the confirmation hearings of the incoming European Commissioners. Taken place last week in Brussels, the 3-hour hearings allowed the Members of the European Parliament to evaluate the designate Commissioners’ knowledge, commitment and personalities.
Maroš Šefčovič, Transport Commissioner-Designate – questioned by the Transport Committee – sent positive signals that he is committed to tackle some of the most pressing issues in EU transport, including unfair competition, social dumping and the implementation of the Single European Sky.
A Slovak social-democrat and outgoing Commissioner responsible for coordinating EU institutions, Mr. Šefčovič recognized that social dumping is a serious problem in the transport area and promised willingness to clarify the rules, simplify them and push for better enforcement by Member States. He even suggested that Social Partners could create a “Social code for mobile transport workers” to give back the stability of the sector. In addition, he pledged to deepen social dialogue.
A similar but more cautious line was taken by Marianne Thyssen, EU Commissioner-Designate for Employment and Social Affairs and Belgian EPP member of the European Parliament for 23 years. She was questioned by several MEPs on issues such as bogus self-employment of pilots, atypical work and zero-hours contracts. While avoiding to suggest new legislative steps, Mrs Thyssen emphasized the need for better enforcement of the existing rules against abuses at national level and pointed out that the issue will be addressed at European level where necessary, such as in the newly set up EU Platform on Undeclared Work.
One of the messages derived from both hearings is that social and employment aspects are important to both Commissioners-Designate. ECA will take this as an invitation to seek their commitment in working jointly to end social dumping and unfair competition, preventing bogus self-employment and degrading employment conditions. ECA looks forward to set up a dialogue with the new Commissioners and to develop proposals to address these issues.