This comparative working paper contributes to the debate on the implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive and the mechanisms for the protection of posted workers through the study of the process of transposition and implementation of the Directive in the four candidate countries of the Western Balkans: Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. The paper is based on the review of the existing academic and grey literature on migration and labour mobility, the review of each country’s legislative and institutional framework, as well as 44 semi-structured interviews with representatives of policymakers, implementing and enforcement state agencies, social partners and other relevant experts in all four countries.
We found that the WB countries have concentrated their efforts predominantly on the design stage of the policy cycle establishing the legal framework and structures, although some form of posting is already happening. We argue that the process of transposing and implementing the Directive is driven by the EU integration process but constrained by the current candidate status of these countries which leads to insufficient mechanisms and capacities for implementation.
The transposition and the implementation of the Posting of Workers Directive reveals the contradiction in the EU integration process, as potential Member States are stuck in a transitional phase where they are asked to set up the legal and institutional framework prior to membership, although their prospects of membership remain uncertain. These contradictions have a direct impact on the working lives and level of protection provided to workers from these countries, as the timeframe of EU regulation applicability is challenged by labour market actors who are already taking advantage of the gaps and tensions between national and transnational regulation.