EU presidency: Belgium determined to force breakthrough on platform worker legislation
The Belgian EU presidency will have to work hard in the coming days to straighten out the directive on platform workers and win sufficient support among member states, after a compromise with the European Parliament failed. If member states cannot reach an agreement within two weeks, the text may not be adopted in this legislature, an informal meeting of European labour ministers in Namur made clear.
In December, the Spanish EU presidency reached a compromise with the European Parliament on a directive aimed at improving the working conditions of millions of people working for digital platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo or Bolt. The directive would tackle bogus self-employment in the sector and ensure that platform workers have proper status.
A few days later, however, a meeting of ambassadors from the 27 member states showed insufficient support. Twelve countries - Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Sweden and Ireland - opposed the compromise, while Germany had to abstain due to internal disagreements. Some countries cite the administrative burden of the directive as a reason, while others want to include a clause giving priority to national agreements over the directive.
'Willingness to land'
The Belgian presidency now plans to present a new compromise to member states in the coming days. "In the contacts we had last night and this morning, we sensed a willingness to land, provided we can give an answer to a number of questions," Belgian Employment minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne told Belga on Thursday.
"In the contacts we had last night and this morning, we sensed a willingness to land, provided we can give an answer to a number of questions"
If member states cannot present a new proposal to the European Parliament within two weeks, it will be "extremely difficult" to complete the entire decision-making process before the end of the legislature, Belgian sources say.
In Belgium, the Brussels Labour Court ruled last month that couriers who deliver meals for Deliveroo should be considered employees rather than "self-employed" workers. Deliveroo announced later that day that it would appeal the ruling to the Court of Cassation.
Belgian Employment minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne © BELGA PHOTO JASPER JACOBS