Emmanuel Macron seeks European leaders support for change in EU's 'controversial' labour rule

Salzburg (Austria): The European Union (EU) is a "real step" closer to overhauling a controversial rule on detached workers, after talks with leaders from eastern and central Europe, French President Emmanuel Macron has said.

File image of Emmanuel Macron. AP

File image of Emmanuel Macron. AP

The so-called Posted Workers Directive allows firms to send temporary workers from low-wage countries to other member states without paying local social charges.

The regulation has come under fire from rich nations like France whose president has described it as a "betrayal of the European spirit".

Macron embarked Wednesday on a three-day diplomatic blitz through Austria, Romania and Bulgaria to drum up support for his ambitious plan to reform the directive at a summit in October.

So far he has faced staunch resistance from eastern and central European countries, but there were signs of a breakthrough after discussions with the leaders of Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic in Salzburg.

"We've firmly expressed our will to find a real compromise in October", Macron said on Wednesday evening at a joint press conference.

Although the issue affects less than one percent of the EU's workforce, experts say the trend is on the rise.

The directive was launched in 1996 to help stimulate cross-border business, at a time when EU members broadly shared similar living standards.

Updated Date: Aug 24, 2017 10:27 AM

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