Working across the Member-States: The Free Movement of Workers in the European Union
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The most significant reason for the impending departure of the United Kingdom (e.g., “Brexit”) from the European Union was that citizenry’s concern over the migration of workers to that country from the 27 other member-states. The free movement of workers is one of the four fundamental freedoms associated with membership in the European Union along with the free movement of services, capital, and good. The free movement of workers, pursuant to Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, allows citizens of any member-state to freely move from one member-state to another in pursuit of employment. Other rights within the Treaty also support the ability of European Union citizens to cross national boundaries in search of employment including the free movement of services (Article 56), the right to establishment (Article 56), the right to be free from discrimination based on nationality (Article 20), and the right to free movement and residence within the European Union (Article 21). The most significant purpose of this work is to fully inform the practitioner of the basic rules associated with free movement of workers in the European Union as the aforementioned Articles of the Treaty are interpreted by the European Court of Justice. Secondly, this work will explore the legal flexibility maintained by a member-state wishing to keep migrant workers from entering that member-state. Topics in this article include the public service exception, contract limitations, nationality discrimination, professional qualifications, language fluency requirements, registration requirements, reciprocity, personnel quotas, insurance, remuneration, collective bargaining agreements, unemployment, social security benefits, taxation, business location requirements, and threats to worker mobility in the European Union in addition to information regarding the social science of labor mobility in the European Union.
Creighton University School of Law