First steps towards an EU Labour Authority?

On 16/5 the first meeting took place of the “Advisory Group” (AG) set up by the European Commission, with the aim of trying to establish swiftly the new European Labour Authority (ELA).
The representatives of the Member States, EU Institutions, main EU Agencies concerned and the Social Partners, including FIEC, defined the role, the tasks and the indicative work programme of the AG.
Some concerns were raised during the discussions regarding the added value of such an Authority.
The ambitious intention of the European Commission is to try and ensure that the legislative process can be concluded by the end of 2018 so that the ELA could be operational, although probably not at full capacity, at the beginning of 2019.
The EP appointed its Rapporteur, MEP J. Lenaers (NL-EPP), and a first discussion in the EMPL Committee wiil take place on 24/5.
The next meeting of the Advisory Group should take place in October.



European Commission issues guidance on innovation procurement

In the context of the Renewed Agenda for Research and Innovation presented on 15th May, the Commission has published guidance to encourage public buyers of goods and services in using public procurement as a tool to stimulate innovation. It includes a series of concrete examples and lists the possibilities offered by the 2014 public procurement directives in this field.
Since the adoption of the revised European public procurement directives in 2014, the European Commission is promoting “strategic” public procurement as a tool to encourage environmental, innovative and social policies.
This new guidance is the outcome of a public consultation undertaken in the framework of the public procurement package published in October 2017, to which FIEC contributed. Basically, most of the provisions mentioned in the guidance can indeed help to promote innovation – i.e. functional requirements instead of descriptive requirements, variants, award to the best price/quality ratio instead of the price only, procedures involving dialogue with bidders, etc. However, the main problem lies in the risk-aversion of public buyers.



Goods Package should exclude construction products

FIEC has published a position and issued specific draft amendments to the Goods Package, insisting that construction products be excluded from the scope of the proposed regulations on compliance and enforcement and mutual recognition. Whilst the Federation strongly supports the efforts to improve market surveillance in particular, it believes that the Goods Package does not address the special circumstances of construction materials, which are intermediary products, usually installed in a building by professionals. The President of FIEC has issued a statement calling for better enforcement of existing measures under the Construction Products Regulation, which should in principle ensure that market surveillance is effective, but in reality falls short of what the market requires.