In February, the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council reached a provisional agreement on the Commission's proposal to establish a European Labour Authority (ELA). The ELA, will amongst other things, support Member States in providing information and services to citizens and business and facilitate cooperation and exchange of information between Member States, and support them through concerted and joint inspections in order to fight abuse, fraud and undeclared work.
This is a very important initiative with now only the location of the seat remaining to be decided.
Amongst the selection criteria is the number of agencies which already have their seat in the applicant Member State, the intention being that those with no such agencies would be preferred. In addition, priority will be given to Member States which acceded to the EU in or after 2004.
In light of this prioritisation of newer Member States and the fact that Ireland already hosts the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) the Government is not submitting a bid to host the seat of this organisation.
The location of the seat will be decided by a vote at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) meeting which I will attend in Luxembourg on 13 June.