On March 21 the Socialists and Democrats scored a victory for social rights – according to a press release – after having successfully led the drive to reject the Commission’s proposal for an e-card in a vote in the internal market committee.
Aimed at making the cross-border provision of business and construction services easier and removing administrative burdens, the e-card would de facto establish the country of origin principle by undermining host-country control and enforcement tools, leading to more cross-border social fraud and dumping.
Virginie Rozière, S&D MEP and responsible for the e-card directive, said: “Today’s rejection of the e-card in the internal market committee is a victory for social rights and a strong signal to the European Commission that their ultra-liberal proposals will face strong opposition from the S&Ds. The Commission proposal, if adopted, would have been a disaster for our regulatory and social framework. Under the guise of facilitating the provision of cross-border services, the e-card would have paved the way for the return of the country of origin principle, by favouring states with low social coverage and regulatory requirements. Fortunately this rejection is a victory for social Europe. The EU should encourage fair competition between enterprises, but never social dumping between member states.”
Liisa Jaakonsaari, S&D MEP, responsible for the e-card regulation said: “Intended to make the provision of cross-border services easier by removing administrative burdens, the Commission’s proposal would have had the adverse effect. The e-card does not address any of the real barriers businesses face when they want to offer services in another member state. On the contrary, member states would have been burdened with additional administrative structures and legal uncertainty would have increased. If the Commission really wants to support businesses offering cross-border services, they should ensure that existing measures, such as the single points of contact, are implemented correctly. ”
The Commission’s two proposals for a Regulation and Directive provide a framework for the introduction of a European Services e-card, which aims at making cross-border provision of business and construction services easier, removing administrative burden and thus enhancing competition. The title of the proposal is slightly misleading insofar as no an actual e-card would be introduced, but rather an EU-wide common electronic procedure using the IMI-system. The e-card would be a voluntary tool for the enterprises – the member states however would be obliged to introduce the system if the proposal were to be adopted.