Brussels, 24 May 2019.Slovenia is currently the third largest EU country in terms of the number of workers posted to other Member States. Between 2010 and 2016, the number of temporary workers from Slovenia grew exponentially by 572%. The Slovenian social security institutions issued 190,976 portable A1 documents (PD A1, figures from 2017), certifying that the workers fall under the Slovenian social security legislation.
More than 50% of these workers are active in the construction industry. This means that Slovenia posts almost 100,000 construction workers to other Member States. A stunning number! How can Slovenia, with a domestic construction workforce of approximately 55,000, send almost 100,000 construction workers abroad?
The answer is quite simple: Slovenia is one of the biggest exporters of foreign workers to West European countries, mainly Austria and Germany. Numerous workers from the Western-Balkans (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania) enter the EU via Slovenia. Dietmar Schäfers, President of the EFBWW, states: “The vast majority of these construction workers are systematically exploited. Slovenia has built a money-spinning business model based on social fraud and worker exploitation. This is totally unacceptable and should be stopped at once!”.
Under the current EU legislation Slovenia is obliged to assess and verify that Slovenian posting companies perform “substantial activities” in Slovenia before issuing a PD A1. However, the EFBWW was informed that the Slovenian institutions do not fulfil this obligation. As such, there are very strong indicators that the Slovenian posting companies are not genuine construction companies. If this is the case, Slovenia breaches the application of EU-rules.
The EFBWW requested the European Commission to investigate the Slovenian “business model of exporting cheap labour”. Should irregularities, abuse or fraud be found, the European Commission must immediately react and stop these practices.
Note: On 1 February 2019, the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers already submitted two other complaints to the European Commission against Slovenia for breaching the internal market rules and for alleged “illegal state aid”.
Werner Buelen, firstname.lastname@example.org