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Conference on the 5 years of foundation of ELA

On June 28, 2024, an in-person and online event was held in Brussels to celebrate 5 years since the foundation of ELA (European Employment Authority) and 30 years of EURES.

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The conference was attended by leading figures such as ELA Executive Director Cosmin Boiangiu, Commissioner for Labour and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit and several representatives of EU inspectorates. 

Topics covered

During the celebrations for ELA’s first five years, the principles by which the agency operates on a daily basis were emphasised. In particular: 

  • Practicality and operability, which are implemented with clear objectives for all the agency’s tasks and with work focused on deeds and less use of words. 
  • Physical presence throughout the EU. ELA has shown in recent years proactivity in organising inspections (also joint inspections between different countries) to demonstrate its proximity to both workers and social partners. In addition, this is done through the use of state-of-the-art tools and innovative approaches (not least the use of technologies that exploit AI). 
  • Give confidence to workers going abroad and make them aware of their labour and social rights. 

Although they wanted to celebrate the excellent results achieved in this term, the participants nevertheless highlighted the points on which work still needs to be done.

Among these, the following stood out in particular: 

  • More debate undeclared work; 
  • Greater access to data by individual states to allow greater permeation to ELA; 
  • Renewed, transparent and effective legal framework for subcontacting and accountability within it;
  • Increased interfacing with social partners;
  • Increased use of new AI and data mining technologies. 

Development of new AI and data mining technologies

This point was one of the focal points of the conference, where panels were organised to discuss the national implementation of new technologies. 

One of the best examples was given by the Greek inspectorate, which enclosed all information about employers on an electronic register. This data comes both from the company, which directly provides all data to the inspectorate to facilitate a proper risk analysis, and from employees’ reports, who can directly contact the authorities via a hotline or through a dedicated online platform. 

The system has already been active since 2018, but it is still met with resistance from inspectorates at the local level, which are often reluctant to use the new methods or believe they know more about the situation of companies at the local level than the national inspectorate. 

By means of a dialogue between the two levels and the implementation of AI, the inspectorate proposes in the short term to be able to obtain more precise feedback on critical cases in which it is necessary to intervene with controls. 

Another example of the implementation of new technologies comes from the Netherlands, which has created a checklist tool for a self-risk assessment within its portal. The company answers questions on four points to receive an automatic assessment. The questions focus on: 

  • Decent work; 
  • H&S; 
  • Work with hazardous substances; 
  • Psychological workload. 

This new tool also received an award from the ELA as an example of good practice. 

At the end of the event, the European Commission was asked not only to renew the ELA’s mandate, but to strengthen it further to make the agency even more present in the European labour market and to make transnational mobility even easier, fairer and more transparent. 

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