Saturday

20th Jul 2019

EU to scrap maternity leave bill

  • The European Commission plans on withdrawing the EU maternity bill (Photo: Wikipedia.org)

The European Commission is set to scrap its maternity leave proposal and announce new strategies on migration and security.

Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans will reveal the plans next week at the European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

An internal EU commission document, seen by this website on Thursday (11 December), noted the maternity leave proposal will be pulled and replaced if no agreement is made in the next six months.

The bill, backed by the parliament in 2010, has been stuck at the EU member state level since.

The parliament proposed to extend minimum maternity leave in the EU from 14 to 20 weeks with full pay. It also called for six weeks of compulsory leave after childbirth.

Member states argue the 20 weeks on full pay is both unacceptable and unrealistic given the financial and economic crisis.

The commission had already listed the bill over the summer as one of among others set for burial in a legislative graveyard known as the regulatory fitness and performance programme (Refit).

The latest news is set to disappoint MEPs working on it.

The parliament’s lead negotiator, Italian centre-left Alessandra Moreitti, had met with the Italian EU presidency in September to discuss ways forward.

The talks followed earlier announcements by EU commission for justice Vera Jourova who said she intended to break the member-state deadlock.

Jourova, during her grilling by MEPs in October to become the next justice commissioner, said she wanted the maternity bill “approved next year”.

“I will fully support all efforts to revitalise the negotiations,” she said in a series of follow-up written response to the MEPs on the issue.

But Timmermans will tell another story.

He is set to tell MEPs next week that the vast majority of member states have improved maternity leave at the national level, in part as a response to its 2008 proposal.

“So there is no longer the same need to legislate at the EU level,” he is set to say, noting that other measures are needed to get women into jobs.

New internal security plan

He will also present new ideas on migration and internal security.

The Brussels executive plans to table a new European Security Agenda in response to threats such as cross-border crime, cybercrime, terrorism, and radicalisation.

Details are scant but EU migration commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos earlier this month spoke of expanding co-operation with countries outside the European Union.

He also said EU ministers discussed possible anti-terrorist legislation.

“We need to follow up on this issue and improve all relevant and legal instruments and present new EU legislation if needed,” he told reporters last week following the justice and home affairs council.

He said while anti-terrorism measures and actions are a member state domain, there is a need for EU-level coordination and exchange of information.

“For this aim, we must better use the possibilities offered by the Schengen information systems, in other words, to allow accelerated and improved information exchange on specific check alerts issued on foreign fighters,” he said.

The Italian EU presidency also has some ideas.

In September, it floated the idea of setting up a belt of so-called “police and customs cooperation centres” in North African countries and in the Balkans.

The centres would work with local police to exchange information on terrorism, immigration, trafficking in human beings and organised crime.

The plan, although it has yet to be formally discussed since September, has two phases.

The first would set up two information exchange centres: one in the bordering area between Greece and Turkey and the other in North Africa, possibly in Tunisia or Libya.

Phase two would strength links and information exchange of involved countries with the Italian law enforcement authorities.

Commission withdraws maternity leave bill

The EU executive has scrapped plans to overhaul the bloc’s 20-year old law on maternity leave, after nearly seven years of institutional deadlock.

EU proposes yearly rule of law 'reports'

EU states ought to undergo a yearly "Rule of Law Review Cycle" to help stop countries such as Hungary, Poland, and Romania from backsliding on EU norms, the European Commission has said.

EU defends US data pact, as Facebook court case opens

An Austrian privacy campaigner vs Facebook over the future of data transfers to the US case opened at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on Tuesday. The European Commission, meanwhile, says the Privacy Shield pact is working fine.

Stalling on VAT reform costing billions, says Commission

German media outlet Correctiv, along with other newsrooms, have revealed how criminals annually cheat EU states out of billions in VAT fraud. The EU Commission says solutions exist - but member states refuse to budge on tax unanimity.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  5. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  7. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  8. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  9. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  10. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North

Latest News

  1. EU goes on holiday as new UK PM arrives This WEEK
  2. Survey: Half of EU staff 'don't know' ethics rules
  3. Von der Leyen signals soft touch on migrants, rule of law
  4. Timmermans: von der Leyen will be tough on rule of law
  5. Timmermans trolls 'idiot' Brexit negotiators
  6. Rudderless Europe: Will real Germany please stand up?
  7. PiS & Fidesz claim credit for von der Leyen victory
  8. Von der Leyen faces gender battle for commission posts

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  3. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  4. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan
  7. UNICEFUNICEF Hosts MEPs in Jordan Ahead of Brussels Conference on the Future of Syria
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic talks on parental leave at the UN
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsTrial of Chechen prisoner of conscience and human rights activist Oyub Titiev continues.
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic food policy inspires India to be a sustainable superpower
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  12. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us