Lords looks at seasonal employment

21 October 2010

The House of Lords debated the findings of the report by the European Union Committee on the subsidiarity assessment of the proposed Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on seasonal employment of third-country nationals on Wednesday 20 October

The report, published on 13 October, concluded that the proposed Directive does not comply with the principle of subsidiarity (that legislation be made at the lowest appropriate level).

The Committee is recommending that, under the Lisbon Treaty Protocol on Subsidiarity, the House of Lords should submit a reasoned opinion to the European institutions setting out why it regards the draft as inconsistent with the principle of subsidiarity.

The Committee believes that the entry to and residence in each Member State by third-country nationals as seasonal workers can and should be governed by the policy of individual Member States towards admission of such workers.

The Committee’s view is that while the requirement for seasonal workers is a common occurrence in most Member States, it must be recognised that the needs of Member States differ widely. Market forces such as the number of workers needed and the time of year they are needed vary between Member States, as does the issue of whether a Member State's need for seasonal workers can be satisfied by workers from other Member States or whether they rely on third-country nationals. There is no case for action at EU level.

The debate was opened by Lord Roper, Chairman of the European Union Committee. Lord Inglewood spoke on behalf of the Government and Lord Richard spoke for the Opposition.

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