The EU Commission had the best intentions when it planned to introduce rules for cross-border strikes and the relation between economic market freedoms and the right to strike, which had become necessary due to a legislative proposal. However, unfortunately the Commission didn’t count it chickens before they were hatched - in the end, it was brought to its knees by Council and Parliament! Now the Commission has backed down and withdrawn its well-intended but extremely badly thought out legislative proposal, which had been rejected by all sides.
Monti II: Non-starter right from the beginning

Everything began in March this year when the EU Commission hoped, by introducing the so-called “Monti II Regulation”, to clarify the relationship between collective industrial action - in particular strikes - on the one hand and the economic market freedoms of the Single Market on the other. However, the proposal proved not to be very popular with representatives of both employees and employers. This attitude was also adopted by the European Parliament and the Council and cumulated in the middle of the year in the first “subsidiarity objection” by the Member States - specifically by the national parliaments - since the Lisbon Treaty had come into force. The legal instrument of the “subsidiarity objection” is a so-called early warning procedure for national parliaments that are concerned that a Commission proposal goes beyond the Treaty limits, thereby intervening in national legislation. Overall twelve national governments objected to the planned regulation. Austria was not among them.

Monti II put an end to scandalous ECJ decision

The Monti II Regulation had been initially planned as a reaction to decisions by the ECJ, which would have subordinated fundamental social rights to the freedom of the economy. However, the proposal of the Commission too laid down that fundamental rights do not take priority over market freedoms, but that both are on an equal footing. This was in diametric contrast to the demands of the labour representatives who had expected that the EU Commission would determine that the fundamental rights of employees would take priority over market freedoms. Hence, the European trade unions had long demanded a Social Progress Clause to be embedded in EU Treaty, which shall bindingly lay down the priority of fundamental social rights. It is difficult to say what will happen after the withdrawal of the Commission. What is certain is that the Monti II Regulation is dead and buried. Unfortunately, the ECJ decisions, which are scandalous from an employees’ point of view, will continue to exist. Now the ball is once again in the corner of the EU Commission to deal with this problem, as only the Commission can present a new proposal. Politically, this is a heavy defeat for the EU Commission, because it could not find any support from the European Parliament, the Council or from major labour or employers’ representatives.

Further information:

Withdrawal of Monti II proposal by the EU Commission