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EU Commission blocking regulation of employment agencies no surprise - Morgan

24 July, 2007

Sinn Féin TD Arthur Morgan has today questioned the sincerity of Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment Micheal Martin’s response to the EU Commissions statement that proposed legislation in the Towards 2016 national agreement to regulate the employment agency sector contradicts existing EU Treaty provisions.

Deputy Morgan said:

“The Freedom to Provide Services principle contained within the Services Directive, as supported by the Ministers colleagues in Europe when passed by the EU parliament last year, clearly allows for a service provider from one member state to operate in another without having to have an establishment or presence in the member state within which it is operating.

“Sinn Fein argued this point in 2006 and was one of the many reasons why we voted alongside our EU parliamentary partners GUE/NGL against the Services Directive.

“I question the sincerity of the Minister’s comments that the government had been given assurances by the Commission that employment agencies would remain outside of the Directive. If this were true then the Directive text would simply have included such an exception.

“Minister Martin may be seeking advice from the Attorney General but I would suggest that he simply read the relevant text in the Directive and he would quickly see that a service provider cannot be forced to open an office in the country where it is temporarily providing a service. It is also worth noting that the provider also cannot be forced to register with a professional body in the member state from which it is operating.

“Minister Martin is reported to have said that the Commission is more or less saying the rules are European, thereby laying the groundwork for washing his hands of the need for improved regulation of the employment agency sector.

“Legislative proposals drawn up by government in the Towards 2016 Agreement following intense negotiations with the trade union movement must be honoured. Blaming Europe for government failing to tackle rough employment agencies will simply not be acceptable.” CRÍOCH

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