France, Germany block EU deal on scaled-back app worker law

France, Germany block EU deal on scaled-back app worker law

The rules for app workers in the gig economy, first proposed in 2021, have been a source of controversy
The rules for app workers in the gig economy, first proposed in 2021, have been a source of controversy. Photo: Tolga Akmen / AFP/File
Source: AFP

France and Germany on Friday refused to back a watered-down agreement on controversial EU rules covering app workers in the gig economy, European diplomats said.

The European Union's objective was to bring in bloc-wide rules that supporters hoped would improve conditions for app workers in the gig economy by reclassifying some as employed.

But the latest text scaled back those efforts, by scrapping any formal list of criteria and letting states decide how to classify workers.

For any approval, there needed to be a qualified majority of 15 out of 27 EU nations, representing at least 65 percent of the bloc's population.

During a meeting of member states' ambassadors in Brussels, the EU's two most populous countries, France and Germany, blocked the text with the support of Estonia and Greece, the diplomats told AFP.

Read also

Tractors gather in central Madrid in farmers' protest

They said they could not support the text, therefore denying the qualified majority, the diplomats added.

"Unfortunately, the necessary qualified majority voting wasn't found," Belgium, which holds the rotating EU presidency, said on social media.

"We'll now consider the next steps," it added.

EU diplomats said the presidency would not give up. "Why would they? There are 23 countries supporting this deal," one said.

Others were sceptical, arguing that this would not be possible and the issue would be kicked into the long grass until after June elections across Europe.

The draft rules have been a source of controversy since the European Commission first proposed the text in 2021.

Member states and the European Parliament struck a first agreement on the draft text in December 2023 but days later, a France-led blockade stopped the deal in its tracks.

New feature: Сheck out news that is picked for YOU ➡️ click on “Recommended for you” and enjoy!

Source: AFP

Online view pixel