Posting of workers in Eastern Europe



One major characteristic of labour migration within the European Union (EU) is mobility from lower-income countries, often from Southern and Eastern Europe, towards higher-income Member states (MS) in the West and the North of Europe. Therefore, transitional periods for full access to the freedom of movement of workers in the internal European market have been applied for the latest accession countries. As a result, the posting of workers regulated by the Directive on the Posting of Workers (96/71/EC) has been one of the main channels for employment of workers from these countries to the rest of the EU until the lifting of the ban. The migratory trend is expected to continue once the candidate countries from the Western Balkans become full members, in particular when considering their recent history of migration towards EU member states since the fall of the previous political regimes.


The EEPOW Project aimed to proactively address the issue of posting of workers at its pre-accession stage by assisting Eastern European countries, especially the four candidate countries Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, in implementing the Directive already before it gets into force, and by assisting in the prevention of social dumping, i.e. the use of cheap labour, to minimise associated risks for workers.

The way we did that was

  1. by assessing the institutional needs of the candidate countries to prepare for the directive and prevent social dumping;
  2. by implementing mutual-learning activities (peer reviews) in the EU-MS together with the candidate countries to enable for learning from best practices; and
  3. by working in partnership with policy-makers, civil servants, state agencies, and the social partners.

The project contributed to European Cohesion and Solidarity within the EU and between the EU and the candidate countries in the Western Balkans, helped to further consolidate national strategies, and reinforced transnational coordination between relevant stakeholders of the broader EU region. The specific objectives included improving transnational multi-stakeholder cooperation, increasing access to information, strengthening the evidence base through empirical research, and building institutional capacities.


The project achieved its objectives through the implementation of actions such as research and assessment of the institutional capacities of candidate countries to implement the Directive on the Posting of Workers, cooperation among participating countries’ stakeholders through country workshops and peer reviews, as well as information sharing through events and publications.


  • Kick-off meeting
  • Research case studies: Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia
  • One needs assessment
  • Country workshops in Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia
  • Peer reviews in Austria, Germany, Italy, Slovenia
  • Two national conferences and one final international conference
  • Four policy briefs
  • One comparative working paper
  • Informative booklet in English, as well as in German, Italian, Albanian, Macedonian, Montenegrin and Serbian.


The assessment of the institutional capacities and needs of the four candidate countries of the Western Balkans: Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, to implement the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) was conducted in the context of the policy process cycle and in terms of six interdependent domains: legal framework, institutional arrangement, inter-agency cooperation, human resources, stakeholder engagement, and public governance. Findings indicated that

  • the Directive has been only partially transposed in the Western Balkan countries and the existing legislation does not include all the elements of the Directive and the Enforcement Directive,
  • other relevant mechanisms such as bilateral agreements on social security coordination and health care are incomplete,
  • institutions responsible for the implementation of the Directive are either partially or not established,
  • liaison offices for interagency cooperation and information dissemination have not been established,
  • more training and information on posting are needed by human resources,
  • trade unions, employer organizations, Chambers of Commerce and NGOs have not been actively involved in the process in the Western Balkan countries, except partial consultations.

To address the needs identified, candidate countries must complete the legal framework and establish protocols of intra-agency cooperation, mandate public authorities and build their capacities on posting, as well as include social partners more actively in the process.

The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research supports the Sustainable Development Goals

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UN SDG Decent Work and Economic Growth


EaSI Programme, DG Employment, European Commission


01/2018 – 12/2019