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15 Jan 2024


Belgian presidency gives platform workers rulebook new try

The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU has circulated a new draft text of the platform work directive, which should be the basis for technical negotiations among member states on Tuesday (16 January), amid persistent divisions about the directive’s scope.

The draft text, dated 10 January and seen by Euractiv, almost perfectly matches the provisional agreement found in interinstitutional negotiations – known as ‘trilogues’ – on 13 December.

On 22 December, however, the very same agreement was knocked down by a majority of member states, who considered that the Spanish Council presidency had overstepped its mandate in the negotiations.

The platform work directive seeks to ensure workers of digital platforms such as Deliveroo and Uber have the correct contractual status based on their treatment and working conditions. The legislation also sets new ambitious provisions on algorithmic management in the workplace.

In a cover note attached to the new text, the Belgian presidency says it is committed to striking a deal before legislative work ends and EU election campaigning begins.

Since time is of the essence, the provisional agreement, “although as such not acceptable to a majority of member states, needs to serve as basis for further negotiation”.

Belgium has asked member states to comment on this new iteration of the text with a view to informing “a [new] proposal for a revised mandate to Coreper”, the Committee of Permanent Representatives that gathers EU ambassadors, the cover note reads.

France, in a note seen by Euractiv, has already warned it could not agree to use the trilogue’s provisional agreement as a starting point and has called on the Belgian presidency to stick as close as possible to the Council’s mandate.

While the country holding the rotating presidency of the Council should play the role of the honest broker, both Belgium and Spain have been pushing for a more prescriptive approach with stronger protection for workers.

By contrast, France, the Nordics, and Central Eastern European Countries have been pushing for a more flexible approach that would pose less requirements on platforms. [...]