Hungary and Poland are taking Brussels to court over the European Union’s Posted Workers Directive. Approved by EU member states last year and by the European Parliament in May, the two countries want it “invalidated” by the EU Court of Justice.

Introduced in 1996, the Posted Workers Directive caused resentment in western countries such as France, Germany and Austria, which argue it amounts to “social dumping” that creates unfair competition on their labour markets.

As reported by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Eastern and central Europe – where most of the less expensive workers come from – have resisted any changes. However, a compromise was struck last October: the EU member states agreed to limit the time period to 12 months but conceded it could extended for six months at the company’s request.

Workers would not only receive the minimum salary of the host country, but also all of the extra bonuses.

The office of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban warned the changes to the original rules “introduce obligations and restrictions contrary to the prohibition of discrimination”.

In Poland, the deputy foreign affairs minister, Konrad Szymanski, criticised the “protectionist character” of the new text, which he said ran contrary to the principle of free movement of labour and services within the EU.