French President Emmanuel Macron will visit Romania as part of his tour against the “posted workers” regime.

The Romanian President, Klaus Iohannis, invited the French President for a visit Bucharest on Friday, on the sidelines of the EU Summit in Brussels. The French President accepted.

The objective of the visit will be to make the case against social dumping practices, including “posted workers.” Macron’s resolve has raised concerns in Poland, Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania, where low wages and social insurance costs are exploited as a competitive advantage.

Political context

A “posted worker” is an employee sent by his employer to carry out a service in another EU Member State on a temporary basis and, therefore, paid and insured in terms of the country of origin. The practice is seen as a form of “social dumping,” as it undercuts working conditions in high-earning EU member states.

During a speech at the end of May, Emmanuel Macron promised to curb untaxed and uninsured Eastern European labour in France, blaming the UK and “ultra-liberal” EU member states for social dumping practices.

Following the same line of argumentation, EU Employment Commissioner Marianne Thyssen announced an overhaul of how long truck drivers can work under the home of origin regime when traveling between EU member states.

This new French position derailed a deal on EU mobility rules, which was expected to be signed-off during the Maltese Presidency on Thursday (15 June) in Luxembourg. Mr. Macron argued that in Luxembourg that unless the EU deals with work that has lower social cost it risks unraveling.

Spectre of Brexit

France is advocating for new rules that would ban “temporary workers” from working in another member state without adhering to local social insurance and taxation regime for more than a year. The Maltese proposal extended this period to two years. Currently, this period is unlimited.

Macron makes the case that the Leave campaign in the UK focused on social damping and the EU must move to defend its lower middle class, dismissing this is an “east-west” debate. His argument has enraged Warsaw, with Prime Minister Beata Szydlo accusing Emmanuel Macron of “hostility” against Eastern European governments.