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C 137 E/216 Official Journal of the European Union EN 12.6.


(2003/C 137 E/243) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3489/02

by Charles Tannock (PPE-DE)
and Theresa Villiers (PPE-DE) to the Commission

(9 December 2002)

Subject: The Commission’s attempts to reduce labour rigidities and the Agency Workers Directive

Does the Commission believe that the Agency Workers Directive will have a beneficial or damaging effect
on labour rigidities in the European Union? In particular, does the Commission believe that the Directive
will enhance or reduce flexibility for employees and, in particular, for those women who wish to work, but
who need employment flexibility in order to balance conflicting calls on their time?

Answer given by Mrs Diamantopoulou on behalf of the Commission

(19 December 2002)

Many studies raise concerns over the working conditions of temporary agency workers. Temporary agency
work appears to be associated with especially precarious working conditions.

The proposed Directive formulates a general framework for the working conditions of temporary agency
workers across Europe. Its main objective is to improve the security of agency workers while at the same
time giving greater flexibility to enterprises. The Directive will improve the security of agency workers and
make sure that they do not face any disadvantages. By providing a general framework for the working
conditions of agency workers, it should increase the attractiveness of the sector and the number of workers
who choose this kind of work in particular for the flexibility involved. At the same time, this should give
more choice to user firms and allow them to better meet their needs for flexibility. The Directive therefore
puts in place a framework for the further expansion of the sector, and will contribute to fully realising its
employment potential and to improving the functioning of the labour market.

(2003/C 137 E/244) WRITTEN QUESTION E-3490/02

by Bill Newton Dunn (ELDR), Imelda Read (PSE), Phillip Whitehead (PSE),
Roger Helmer (PPE-DE), Christopher Heaton-Harris (PPE-DE)
and Nicholas Clegg (ELDR) to the Commission

(9 December 2002)

Subject: Eligibility of county councils for funding under the EU town-twinning programme

Due to the differences between the structure of local government in the UK and in continental Europe it
appears that county councils are not eligible to receive EU funding for twinning activities under Action A
because they are not considered to be ‘municipalities’, whereas European municipalities currently do
receive these funds. However county councils are not only direct providers of services, but are also heavily
involved in twinning activities.

Can the Commission make allowances for the differences between the local government structures in the
UK and those in continental Europe and ensure that UK county councils can become eligible for EU
twinning funds?