|Vol.7, No.23, 7.6.01, p2
IN A move timed to come just after the UK elections, the Swedish presidency is next week poised to clinch a landmark deal to give EU workers the right to have a say in the running of their companies.
Employment ministers are expected to agree wide-ranging rules on the consultation of workers at a meeting on Monday (11 June), despite UK objections.
The controversial rules have been stuck on the legislative shelf for two and a half years because of vigorous opposition from Britain, Germany, Ireland and Denmark.
London argues that the plans amount to needless EU meddling as they would impose obligations on national companies - not just those that operate across borders. But Stockholm believes it has enough support to push them through. "The British don't want to talk about this but there has been a lot going on behind the scenes," said one EU insider. "If Sweden wants to push this now they will have the deal."
It is no coincidence the move is likely to come just days after the British elections today (7 June). Insiders say ministers agreed to wait until the poll was over to avoid harming UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
The rules will be seized upon by the country's opposition Conservative party as evidence that Britain has lost too much power to the EU. They argue the consultation rules will harm the competitiveness of UK business.
Clinching the rules would be a considerable victory for Sweden. France, the most vocal supporter of the plans, failed to get them agreed during its presidency last year. The consensus-minded Swedes hope they can even persuade Britain to drop its objections at the last minute.
France and the European Commission have been cranking up pressure for a deal because of recent high profile redundancy announcements, such as at Marks & Spencer and Ericsson.
In a move timed to come just after the UK elections, the Swedish presidency is poised to clinch a landmark deal to give EU workers the right to have a say in the running of their companies.
|Employment and Social Affairs