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Concerns over the proposed European services e-card have been raised again as the European social partners of the cleaning, insurance and construction sectors have jointly express their fundamental concerns about the legislative proposals on the e-card.

They strongly question the real added-value of the proposals in strengthening the European Single market.

The European services e-card has been designed to make it easier for companies to work in other Member States. On 10 January, 2017, the European Commission published a number of legislative initiatives as part of its Single Market Strategy.

They include a Regulation introducing a European services e-card and a Directive on the legal and operational framework of such an e-card. Many operational details are proposed to be regulated by the Commission’s Delegated and Implementing Acts, following adoption of the legislative proposals.

In January, associations including FIEC (the European Construction Industry Federation) and EFBWW (European Federation of Building & Wood Workers) expressed their concern about the proposed e-card.

Now, the European social partners of the cleaning, insurance and construction sectors have combined to confirm their support for fair competition in a well-functioning Single Market and for the freedom to provide services across the EU. But against this backdrop, they said they had serious concerns that the proposed services e-card would not contribute to this objective.

They said that on the contrary, it might even have counter-productive effects. In particular, they are concerned that it could facilitate bogus self-employment, undeclared work, fake posting and the non-respect of social/labour regulations. In addition, the insurance related provisions would not work in practice and, at the same time, increase administrative burden for insurers and their clients.

Moreover, the signatories fear that the e-card will jeopardise and hinder legitimate national control measures in the host Member States. They said this was because home Member States were likely simply to confirm the information they provided for the e-card, instead of undertaking serious inquiries into whether or not a company was genuine or not.

The Social Partners agreed that “instead of addressing the problems we have been facing for years in our sectors, the services e-card might actually facilitate fraudulent practices and undermine fair competition”.

They said that social partners in sectors where genuine companies and workers’ rights were regularly confronted with fraudulent practices of all kinds had repeatedly called for better framework conditions to enforce existing rules and improve employment conditions.

They said there was a risk that the proposed services e-card would reverse efforts in this area.

 

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