Brussels, 03/06/2005

All eyes are on Brussels, following France and the Netherlands' rejection of the Constitution, to see what EU decision-makers can do to restore citizens' confidence.
The first step must be to show they are listening to demands for a stronger Social Europe.

“The ETUC is very disappointed that this week's Employment Council lacked the courage to approve the compromise proposal for revision of the Working Time Directive agreed by the European Parliament,” said ETUC General Secretary John Monks. The ETUC would have liked the Commission to come forward with revised proposals in line with the will of the democratically elected EP.

Many Member States understand that the annual reference period for calculating average working time will give employers perfectly adequate flexibility, yet a UK-led minority is now blocking progress, and this will merely serve to strengthen the feeling among European voters that the EU is not on their side. In particular, Germany's siding with the UK, at this time, is incomprehensible.

The ETUC urges the European Council on 16-17 June to prioritise this vital measure to ensure that we see some positive movement before the end of the Luxembourg EU Presidency.