Stockholm, Brussels and Tallinn

Yesterday I paid a short visit to Stockholm to speak at Conference on Security. The Conference brings together executives in the security sector and security managers from various companies, and they had invited me as a keynote speaker. I spoke about organised crime groups and how they operate in the EU, the prevalence of cyber crime and what the EU does to meet those challenges. I told them about the proposal for a European Cybercrime Centre at Europol, which I will present next week.

I also met with the employees from the Commission’s representation in Stockholm. We talked about current issues and in particular about the negotiations on the asylum package, which are slowly but surely moving forward. The Commission’s representations organise seminars and are responsible for the EU information offices. If you have general questions concerning the EU or if you want information material you can always contact the representation in your country. The representations do a very good job and it’s always nice to meet the people working there.

Early this morning, I went back to Brussels for this week’s Commission meeting. On today’s agenda was, among other things, the enforcement of the directive concerning the posting of workers.

The Posting of Workers Directive was adopted in 1996, and it establishes the rights of a ‘posted worker’ – a worker sent from one EU country to another to perform a job during a given period of time. The directive states, for example, that all workers should receive pay, vacation days, and includes safety requirements for the workplace. When the directive was adopted there had been several cases of abuse of posted workers and the new rules sought to protect them. Now, 18 years later, we see that not all Member States have implemented the directive correctly and there are still cases where the employees are not adequately protected. Today’s proposal aims to clarify the responsibilities of Member States. The Commission also reaffirmed that social rights such as the right to strike, are on a par with economic rights, such as the freedom of establishment.

Tonight, I will fly to Tallinn where I will meet, among others, the Prime Minister and where I will inaugurate the new European IT Agency. The Agency has nothing to do with cybercrime but will instead be responsible for running the Visa Information (VIS) and EURODAC systems – making sure that they function twenty four hours a day.

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