Government should bid to host new European Labour Authority

08 April 2019

Labour Party candidate for Ireland South, and President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions Sheila Nunan has called on the Fine Gael Government to put together a proper bid for Ireland to host the new European Labour Authority (ELA) and said Cork would be a viable location.

Nunan said:

“It’s not too often that the EU creates a new agency, and Ireland should put in a serious bid to host the new European Labour Authority (ELA). The structure of the new agency was agreed by the EU Commission, Council and Parliament in February. At present only Cyprus and Slovakia have declared their intentions to bid for the new agency.

“The government recently spent millions on two failed campaigns to attract the European Banking Authority (EBA) and European Medicines Agency (EMA) that are being moved from London following the decision of the UK to leave the EU.

“Ireland narrowly lost out on the EBA when after a tied vote, Paris was drawn out of the hat. We also lost out on the EMA to Amsterdam having withdrawn from the bid late into the process to focus our efforts on winning the EBA.

“Now would be a great opportunity for Ireland to put together a serious bid for the ELA, and I think Cork would be a viable location. If we could attract the ELA to our southern city it would also showcase the commitment of the Government to balanced regional development, and in particular boost business for Cork Airport.

“The ELA is expected to get up and running this year, and when fully established will have a budget of €50million, with a staff of about 140.

“The need for the agency arose because of the 17 million EU citizens last year that worked or lived in a member state different to their nationality. Ireland is a hub for thousands of workers from across the EU in the multinational sector especially in tech, pharma and aviation.

“Such an agency if it was based in Ireland would provide a significant boost to our local economy, and demonstrate our commitment to fair and decent employment for all.

“In the upcoming elections to the European Parliament the Labour Party will be campaigning for strong powers for the new ELA, including the ability to prevent ‘social dumping’ and ensure fair labour mobility throughout the EU for those who work across borders.

“These elections will be a critical time for social rights in Europe which must be about more than just more closely integrated markets.”



The European Labour Authority (ELA)was first proposed in September 2017 to ensure that EU rules on labour mobility be enforced in a fair, simple and effective way.

The Commission, Parliament and Council reached a provisional agreement on the ELA in February 2019.

This new agency will play a central role in the roll out of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

It is expected to be up and running in 2019, and a decision on location will be made by the European Council of relevant Ministers.

Role of the ELA

  • Facilitate access for individuals and employers to information on their rights and obligations as well as to relevant services.
  • Support cooperation between EU countries in the cross-border enforcement of relevant Union law, including facilitating joint inspections.
  • Mediate and facilitate a solution in cases of cross-border disputes between national authorities or labour market disruptions.

Structure and funding

  • The European Labour Authority will be a permanent structure, made up of approximately 140 staff members, some of them seconded from EU countries  and acting as National Liaison Officers.
  • It will be steered by a Management Board, with representatives from each EU country and the European Commission.
  • A dedicated Stakeholder Group including EU social partners will provide further expertise and have an advisory role.
  • It will have an annual budget of approximately EUR 50 million.


The ELA will

  • provide national authorities with operational and technical support to exchange information, develop day-to-day cooperation routines, carry out inspections and, if necessary, settle disputes.
  • Ensure synergies with existing EU agencies by relying on their expertise in terms of skills forecasting, health and safety at work, the management of company restructuring and tackling undeclared work.
  • Integrate a number of existing committees and networks, thereby simplifying cooperation amongst EU countries and eliminating fragmentation.

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