Freedom of movement for workers in the European Union
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The freedom of movement for workers is a policy chapter of the acquis communautaire of the European Union. The free movement of workers means that nationals of any member state of the European Union can take up an employment in another member state on the same conditions as the nationals of that particular member state. In particular, no discrimination based on nationality is allowed. It is part of the free movement of persons and one of the four economic freedoms: free movement of goods, services, labour and capital. Article 45 TFEU (ex 39 and 48) states that:
- Freedom of movement for workers shall be secured within the Community.
- Such freedom of movement shall entail the abolition of any discrimination based on nationality between workers of the Member States as regards employment, remuneration and other conditions of work and employment.
- It shall entail the right, subject to limitations justified on grounds of public policy, public security or public health:
- (a) to accept offers of employment actually made;
- (b) to move freely within the territory of Member States for this purpose;
- (c) to stay in a Member State for the purpose of employment in accordance with the provisions governing the employment of nationals of that State laid down by law, regulation or administrative action;
- (d) to remain in the territory of a Member State after having been employed in that State, subject to conditions which shall be embodied in implementing regulations to be drawn up by the Commission.
- The provisions of this article shall not apply to employment in the public service.
The right to free movement has both 'horizontal' and 'vertical' direct effect, such that a citizen of any EU state can invoke the right, without more, in an ordinary court, against other persons, both governmental and non-governmental.
- 1 History
- 2 Definition of "worker"
- 3 Extent of the right
- 4 Discrimination and market access
- 5 Public service exception
- 6 Directives and regulations
- 7 Social rights
- 8 Transitional provisions in new member states
- 9 Freedom of movement in the European Economic Area
- 10 Summary
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Bibliography
- 14 External links
The Treaty of Paris (1951) establishing the European Coal and Steel Community established a right to free movement for workers in these industries and the Treaty of Rome (1957) provided a right for the free movement of workers within the European Economic Community, to be implemented within 12 years from the date of entry into force of the treaty. The first step towards realizing the free movement of workers was the Council Regulation no. 15 of 1961, which entered into force on 1 September 1961. It gave the nationals of the member states the right to take up an employment in another member state provided that there were no nationals of that member state available for the job. The regulation was superseded by another regulation on 1 May 1964, which further extended the rights for workers to take up an employment in another member state. However, it was not until 8 November 1968, when regulation (EEC) no 1612/68 entered into force, that free movement of workers was fully implemented within the Communities. Through this regulation, the original article 49 of the EEC treaty was implemented and all nationals of the member states obtained the right to take up an employment in another member state on the same conditions as the nationals of that particular member state. The free movement of workers was thus implemented before the twelve year period foreseen in the EEC treaty had expired. On 16 June 2011, this regulation was replaced by the Free Movement of Workers Regulation 2011. At the time free movement of workers was implemented within the European Communities, the corresponding right already existed within the Benelux (since 1960) and between the Nordic countries (since 1954) through separate international treaties and conventions.
The Directive 2004/38/EC on the right to move and reside freely assembles the different aspects of the right of movement in one document, replacing inter alia the directive 1968/360/EEC. It also clarifies procedural issues, and it strengthens the rights of family members of European citizens using the freedom of movement. According to the official site of the European Parliament, the explanation of the freedom of movement goes as follows:
Freedom of movement and residence for persons in the EU is the cornerstone of Union citizenship, which was established by the Treaty of Maastricht in 1992. Its practical implementation in EU law, however, has not been straightforward. It first involved the gradual phasing out, of internal borders under the Schengen agreements, initially in just a handful of Member States. Today, the provisions governing the free movement of persons are laid down in Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of EU citizens and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. However, the implementation of this directive continues to face many obstacles.
Definition of "worker"
The meaning of 'worker' is a matter of European Union law. "The essential feature of an employment relationship, however, is that for a certain period of time a person performs services for and under the direction of another person in return for which he receives remuneration."
- Purpose: under the European Court of Justice caselaw, the rights of free movement of workers applies regardless of the worker's purpose in taking up employment abroad, so long as the work is not solely provided as a means of rehabilitation or reintegration of the workers concerned into society.
- Time commitment: the right of free movement applies to both part-time and full-time work, so long as the work is effective and genuine and not of such small scale, irregular nature or limited duration to be purely marginal and ancillary.
- Remuneration: a wage is a necessary precondition for activity to constitute work, but the amount is not important. The right to free movement applies whether or not the worker required additional financial assistance from the Member State into which he moves. Remuneration may be indirect quid pro quo (e.g. board and lodging) rather than strict consideration for work.
- Direction of another: where a person is self-employed, he can avail himself of the freedom to provide services and freedom of establishment.
Extent of the right
The right to free movement applies where the legal relationship of employment is entered into in or shall take effect within the territory of the European Community. The precise legal scope of the right to free movement for workers has been shaped by the European Court of Justice and by directives and regulations. Underlying these developments is a tension "between the image of the Community worker as a mobile unit of production, contributing to the creation of a single market and to the economic prosperity of Europe" and the "image of the worker as a human being, exercising a personal right to live in another country and to take up employment there without discrimination, to improve the standard of living of his or her family".
Discrimination and market access
- Case 379/87 Groener v Minister for Education  ECR 3967
- Cases 267 & 268/91 Keck and Mithouard  ECR I-6097
- Case 18/95 F.C. Terhoeve v Inspecteur van de Belastingdienst Particulieren/Ondernemingen Buitenland  ECR I-345
Public service exception
- Case 149/79 Commission v Belgium  ECR 3881
- Case 152/73 Sotigiu v Deutsche Bundespost  ECR 153
Directives and regulations
- Directive 68/360/EEC
- Case 48/75 Royer  ECR 497
- Case 118/75Watson and Belmann  ECR 1185
- Case C-292/89 Antonissen  ECR I-745
- EU Regulation 1612/68 repealed and replaced by Regulation 492/2011
- Case C-207/78 Ministere Public v Even and ONPTS  ECR 2019
- Case C-267/83 Diatta v Land Berlin  ECR 567
- Case C-370/90 R v Immigration Appeal Tribunal and Surinder Singh, ex parte Secretary of State for the Home Department  ECR I-4265
- Case 293/83 Gravier v City of Liege  ECR 593
- Case C-85/96 Maria Martinez Sala v Freistaat Bayern  ECR I-2691
- Case C-184/99 Rudy Grzelczyk v Centre Public d'Aide Sociale d'Ottignes-Louvain-la-Neuve (CPAS)  ECR I-6193
Transitional provisions in new member states
In the Treaty of Accession 2003, the Treaty of Accession 2005, and the Treaty of Accession 2011, there is a clause about a transition period before workers from the new member states can be employed on an equal, non-discriminatory terms in the old member states. The old member states have the right to impose such transitional period for 2 years, then to decide to extend it for additional 3 years, and then, if there is serious proof that labour from new member states would be disruptive to the market in the old member states then the period can be extended for the last time for 2 more years.
According to the principle of reciprocity, new member states have the right to impose restrictions for all the countries that introduced restrictions and transitional periods to their citizens. Croatia has decided to apply this rule.
Freedom of movement in the European Economic Area
The citizens of the member states of the European Economic Area (which includes the EU) have the same right of freedom of movement in the EEA as EU citizens do within the Union. Additionally, the European Union and Switzerland have concluded a bilateral agreement with the same meaning. The EEA member states outside the EU (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland are treated as "old member states" in regard to the Treaty of Accession of the new EU members, so they can impose such 2+3+2 transitional periods.
Switzerland initially granted freedom of movement to EEA citizens in 2005-2011. It briefly reimposed restrictions in 2012-2013, but lifted them again in 2014. A 2014 Referendum directed the Swiss government to impose permanent quotas on residence/work permits for citizens of all EEA countries except Liechtenstein, starting from 2017 at the latest. However, on 22 December 2016, Switzerland and the EU concluded an agreement that a new Swiss law (in response to the referendum) may require Swiss employers to give priority to Swiss-based job seekers (Swiss nationals and foreigners registered in Swiss job agencies) but does not limit the free movement of EU workers to Switzerland.
|The citizens of →
can be employed in ↓
starting ↘[clarification needed]
|European Union members||Other EEA
|The citizens of ←|
can be employed in ↓
|United Kingdom[b]||1986||1986||1973||1981||1973||1973||1994||1973||1973||1973||1973||1994||1973||1994||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2014||2014||2018||1994||1994||1995||2004||United Kingdom|
|Czech Republic||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2004||2007||2007||2013||2004||2004||2004||2005||Czech Republic|
no restriction on freedom of movement of workers; year of initial lifting of restrictions
- Trans-Tasman Travel Arrangement
- Compact of Free Association
- European Union law
- Citizenship of the European Union
- Internal Market
- Free Movement of Citizens Directive
- Freedom of movement
- Treaty of Rome (consolidated version). EUR-Lex
- Union royale belge des sociétés de football association ASBL v Jean-Marc Bosman, Case C-415/93. EUR-Lex
- Angonese v Cassa di Risparmio di Bolzano SpA, Case C-281/98 (2000). EUR-Lex
- Article 69 part of Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (Rome, 25 March 1957) on CVCE website.
- Title 3 part of Treaty establishing the European Economic Community (Rome, 25 March 1957) on CVCE website.
- Règlement n° 15 relatif aux premières mesures pour la réalisation de la libre circulation des travailleurs à l'intérieur de la Communauté
- [Article 1 of regulation 15]
- VERORDNUNG Nr. 38/64/EWG DES RATS vom 25. März 1964 über die Freizügigkeit der Arbeitnehmer innerhalb der Gemeinschaft
- REGULATION (EEC) No 1612/68 OF THE COUNCIL of 15 October 1968 on freedom of movement for workers within the Community
- Article 1 of REGULATION (EEC) No 1612/68 OF THE COUNCIL of 15 October 1968 on freedom of movement for workers within the Community
- "Free movement of persons". Europarl.europa.eu. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
- Hoekstra (née Unger) v Bestuur der Bedrijfsvereniging voor Detailhandel en Ambachten, Case 75-63 (1964). EUR-Lex
- Deborah Lawrie-Blum v Land Baden-Württemberg, Case 66/85 (1986). EUR-Lex
- Levin v Staatssecretaris van Justitie, Case 53/81 (1982). EUR-Lex
- Bettray v Staatssecretaris van Justitie, Case 344/87 (1989). EUR-Lex
- Raulin v Minister van Onderwijs en Wetenschappen, Case C-357/89 (1992). EUR-Lex
- Kempf v Staatssecretaris van Justitie, Case 139/85 (1986). EUR-Lex
- Udo Steymann v Staatssecretaris van Justitie, Case 196/87 (1988). EUR-Lex
- Walrave and Koch v Association Union cycliste internationale, Koninklijke Nederlandsche Wielren Unie et Federación Española Ciclismo, Case 36-74 (1974). EUR-Lex
- See alsoIngrid Boukhalfa v Bundesrepublik Deutschland, C-214/94 (1996). EUR-Lex
- Craig & de Búrca 2003, p. 701
- http://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&numdoc=61987J0379&lg=en Anita Groener v Minister for Education and the City of Dublin Vocational Educational Committee. Judgment of the Court of 28 November 1989.
- http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:61991CJ0267:EN:HTML Judgment of the Court of 24 November 1993. - Criminal proceedings against Bernard Keck and Daniel Mithouard. - References for a preliminary ruling: Tribunal de grande instance de Strasbourg - France. - Free movement of goods - Prohibition of resale at a loss. - Joined cases C-267/91 and C-268/91.
- http://eur-lex.europa.eu/smartapi/cgi/sga_doc?smartapi!celexplus!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=en&numdoc=61995J0018 F.C. Terhoeve v Inspecteur van de Belastingdienst Particulieren/Ondernemingen buitenland. Judgment of the Court of 26 January 1999.
- "EUR-Lex - 31968L0360 - EN - EUR-Lex". eur-lex.europa.eu.
- "EUR-Lex - 31968R1612 - EN". eur-lex.europa.eu.
- "Regulation (EU) No 492/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 5 April 2011 on freedom of movement for workers within the Union Text with EEA relevance". Eur-lex.europa.eu. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
- European Commission. "FAQ on the Commission's free movement of workers report". Retrieved 28 July 2010.
- "Croatia - Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion - European Commission". ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
- "Free movement of persons". Directorate for European Affairs. Bern: Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. May 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- "Free Movement of Persons Switzerland – EU/EFTA". Federal Office for Migration. Bern: Federal Department of Justice and Police. May 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014.
- "Working in Switzerland as a citizen of an EU/EFTA member state - www.ch.ch". www.ch.ch. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
- EU and Switzerland agree on free movement – euobserver, 22 Dec 2016
- Liechtenstein Wirtschaft Work permits and residence
- "Work permits and labour market restrictions in some EU countries". Europa. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
- "Croatian". Immigration and Naturalisation Service. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
- "Croatia to become part of the EEA". Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 2014. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- "Citizens of Croatia will not need residence permits from the 1st of July 2015". The Directorate of Immigration. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
- "Croatia - Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion - European Commission". ec.europa.eu. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- "Austria to Extend Restrictions for Croatian Workers until 2020". www.total-croatia-news.com.
- "Free Movement of Persons Switzerland – EU/EFTA". sem.admin.ch. Retrieved 13 January 2017.
- P. Craig and G. de Búrca, EU Law: Text, Cases and Materials, 3rd edition, OUP, 2003.
- European Commission: EU citizenship and free movement
- Your Europe: Work Permits
- EURES - The European Job Mobility Portal
- The Free Movement of Persons in the European Union: A Legal-historical Overview