The EU Commission had planned to use the so-called “Monti-II Regulation” to clarify the relationship between industrial action - in particular strikes - on the one hand and economic market freedoms of the internal market on the other. The resistance to the proposal was strong right from the start, and not only by worker representations. Now for the first time, since the Treaty of Lisbon came into force, Member States have not accepted a draft proposal. This took place by way of a subsidiarity complaint. This means that the proposal has been stopped for the time being, and that the EU Commission has to make a declaration.
National Parliaments stop Monti II Regulation for now

The Monti II Regulation was conceived as a reaction to ECJ rulings, according to which fundamental social rights would have been subordinate to economic freedom. However, the proposal of the Commission set out that fundamental rights do not take priority over market freedoms, but that both would be on the same level. This meant that the ECJ ruling was practically set in stone. But, based on the veto of a third of the Member States, the regulation has been stopped for the time being. The legal instrument applied by the Member States was the subsidiarity complaint. The Lisbon Treaty provides such an “early warning procedure” for cases where national Parliaments have justified concerns that a proposal by the Commission would exceed the Treaty limits and interfere in national legislation. In the end, twelve national governments vetoed the planned regulation. Austria was not among them.

Veto by the Member States could fail to succeed

Due to the fact, that the Commission is capable of making a declaration, it might be possible to implement the regulation in its current form in spite of the successful veto. Having said that, this could be a chance for the EU Commission to do what it should have done right from the beginning: declaring that in the internal market fundamental rights of employees take priority over market freedoms. The prioritisation of the right to organise and the right to strike had been put into question by some flawed decisions of the European Court of Justice; the time has come to correct this position. Hence, the European trade unions have for a long time demanded to embed a social progress clause in the EU Treaty, which shall bindingly determine the priority of social fundamental rights.