Strengthening the voice of freelancing in Europe

30 Mar

PCG's Senior Public Affairs Advisor Andrew Chamberlain

Waiting to catch the Eurostar back to St Pancras, I jot down a few notes on the action packed two days that I’ve just spent in Brussels.

I’ve been over here promoting PCG in Europe and developing the European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP) – a platform of freelance representatives from across Europe.

EFIP first came to fruition around 18 months ago when PCG were looking to raise their profile at EU level.  Although many MEPs were sympathetic to PCG as the voice of freelancing in the UK, it became apparent that decision makers in Brussels are far more responsive to pan-European organisations than to national associations.

Freelance groups from France, Belgium, Italy, Ireland and the Netherlands were facing similar obstacles and it quickly became clear that we should unite in order to strengthen the voice of the freelancer in the EU.

Following an official launch at the European Parliament at the beginning of last year, EFIP have assisted MEPs in their work on the Agency Workers Directive, have met with the Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Laszlo Andor and were recently instrumental in effecting some key amendments to a recent report on Atypical working by the EU Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.  Most recently our new website was launched – please do take a look: www.efip.org

Despite an explosion of freelancers (or independent professionals) across Europe, EU policy initiatives seem to ignore this vital sector of the economy.  The current outdated social model still forms the basis on which so much EU legislation is based.

EFIP members discuss the Pan-European issues for freelancing

EFIP’s mission is to promote the value of freelancers and that of course includes PCG members.  Ultimately we want to ensure freelancers are increasingly understood and taken account of in the formation of any proposed European legislation.

EFIP has very little budget and we rely heavily on the good will of the member associations to come together at regular intervals during the year to create a work programme for the coming months.

It’s hard work but it also incredibly comforting to know that there are other associations out there that are just as passionate as PCG about this way of working and, like us, believe that freelancing is the future, not just in our own countries but across Europe and beyond.

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