Inaugural address of the President of LMI Stefan Schwarz during V ELMC

Inaugural address of the President of LMI during V European Labour Mobility Congress

The idea was that we will have strong economy and they will give us cheap labour. But this doesn’t work, because this cheap labour started to compete with us, and the centre of Europe is never used to competing with its outskirts. 

– this is a quote from Günter Verheugen, the former Commissioner of the European Commission, and he said these words a week before the V European Labour Mobility Congress in the same hall where it took place. And this is the quote recalled by Stefan Schwarz at the begining of his opening speech. 

Difficult moment for labour mobility

LMI President underlined that the idea behind ELMC is gathering, connecting: the richer Europe with the poorer one, representatives of the employees and the research world, enterpreneurs. At the same time he noted that this year’s Congress took place in a very difficult moment.

We have now had the voting in the European Parliament and the Council, and it was decided, what the initial draft of the new rules on mobility and posting of workers is going to be. And the entire legislation process into which we were most engaged as our Initiative, was running, in my view, in complete opposition to the idea of good law-making. Just to put you into the picture, let me just say that the rapporteurs who met a number of organisations, consulting them on the posting of workers in Brussels, they called it ‘broad consultations’. But those rapporteurs met only one organisation, that was offering the view of the sending Member States. And this organisation was Labour Mobility Initiative.

Truth lost

In Stefan Schwarz’s opinion not only the small group of countries that did not support the revision lost but we all lost it. Europe lostWe are the losers . The posted workers have lost, because they will mainly be now employed illegally, or will be forced into self-employment.  The entrepreneurs also lost here. Entrepreneurs from Poland and from other less prosperous countries – they were taught a lesson. It is also European economy that is a loser here. Because the European economy is going to be less competitive. And finally it is the politicians who are the losers. Because the politicians who knew the facts still made their decision based on prejudices. It is also the European community of citizens who lost. Because the richer used their competitive advantage against the poorer, and they managed to re-build this division, the wall between the West and the East. And we were never supposed to build this wall again.  And finally, it is the truth that lost.

Do we impact this reality? Of course we do! 

President Schwarz ended up his speech with an address:

Do we impact this reality? Of course we do! 

Dear entrepreneurs, you must not be passive anymore. In order for the politicians not to fight you, you must be more likable. It does not really matter what you do. It does not really matter whether you comply with the rules. It is important that people speak well about you and in order for us to achieve that you have to be actively engaged, you have to be more committed.

Dear Trade Unionists, please, do not take everything what Brussels says for granted, do not take it as your own position without verification and without any critical review. Equal pay for equal work at the same place is just a slogan, a bite that is there to get a social support for very controversial reform.

I am deeply convinced that regardless of the environment we come from, regardless of the country of origin we are coming, we are all worried by very much the same problems. We just look at them from different perspectives. 

You can read the complete inaugural address here.