Exploring the fraudulent contracting of work in the EU
EUROFOUND published a report on the issue of fraudulent contracting of work and how it is tackled by the Member States. The study recognises the difficulties in making a clear distinction between “lawful”, “undeclared”, “fraudulent” and “illicit” practices, but it nevertheless manages to highlight the 3 forms of work mostly affected by fraudulent usage, namely : self-employment, fixed-term work and posting of workers.
Council agreement on extending “Juncker” investment plan expected today
Today, the ECOFIN Council is expected to approve the extension of the European Fund for Strategic Investment (EFSI) the financial arm of the “Juncker” investment plan, until 2020. An increase in capacity is also expected. Only Sweden and the UK have expressed some reservations, but the two countries may be reassured today. In the draft compromise, no change has been made to the planned increase in the public guarantee under the EFSI, proposed by the European Commission. This would raise the guarantee from €21 billion to €33.5 billion (i.e. €26 billion from the budget of the EU and €7.5 billion from the EIB). In line with the Paris Agreement, at least 40% of the support provided by “EFSI 2” should be used for climate protection, but this target should remain indicative. In its position paper dated 24/11/2016, FIEC criticised this target as being unrealistic and proposed an alternative target of 25%, in line with the EIB’s in-house objectives. Any further extension of the “Juncker” investment plan beyond 2020 will have to be justified by 2 reports, which should prove its efficiency. These are due in June 2018 and at the end of 2019.
Revision of the Construction Products Regulation a step closer
One of the surprises in last week’s “Clean Energy Package”, previously known as the “Winter Package”, was the mention of a possible revision of the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) within the European Commission’s current term. Although revision has indeed been hinted at in recent weeks, the Commission’s Implementation Report, published in July earlier this year, stated that more time was needed to allow for improved implementation. Therefore, even though talks have started following the creation of the CPR “Technical Platform”, the timing of this announcement – and its presence in the Communication on Clean Energy – was not expected. FIEC is very actively engaged in the ongoing debate about the CPR, as an observer in the Standing Committee on Construction, established under Article 64 of the Regulation. It is also involved in the Technical Platform. Earlier this year, it produced a joint position with Construction Products Europe. FIEC will propose specific changes that benefit contractors, after further consultation with its member federations in the New Year.