“It’s better than my office in Brussels; certainly the view is better,” said Joost Korte, Director-General of the EC’s Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Department Joost Korte when visiting the premises in Bratislava in which the European Labour Authority would be located, in early December.
ELA is the first EU authority Slovakia will host. It was launched earlier this year in reaction to the fact that 17 million EU citizens currently live and work in other EU countries.
“It will help member states to much better inform those Europeans who want to find a job in another member state concerning the rights and obligations they have in other countries,” said Korte, adding that this authority was also created to avoid abuse and help member states at being more effective when it comes to joint inspections across the border.
Today, there are about 20 people working for the ELA while they are still in Brussels. It should achieve the full capacity of 144 within two to three years while Slovak Labour Minister Ján Richter would like one-third of the authority’s staff to be Slovaks.
In the meantime, the European Commission is working at full speed in order to ensure that the ELA will be operational in Bratislava as soon as possible, said Siobhán Millbright, press officer for employment, social rights and inclusion at the EC.
“In order to ensure that the ELA will start on a solid basis it is very important to make sure that all procedural steps are followed,” said Millbright.
First of all, each new EU body must develop its operational capacity before it can work independently. This includes the establishment of an administrative and management structure, an operational office space, an IT infrastructure and the recruitment of the staff necessary for the proper functioning of the ELA. Secondly, there are a number of legal steps which need to be followed in order to get the green light from the competent authorities. The ELA will comply with these procedural steps as efficiently and attentively as possible, according to Millbright
In the time being, ELA is recruiting the executive director. The management board would choose him/her in the spring of next year and this person could assume the office towards the summer.
“That could be the formal start of operations [of ELA] here in Bratislava,” said Korte.
The ELA will be located in the recently completed 14-storey building L12 on Landerevova 12, constructed by the developer J&T Real Estate (JLRE) in the new city district of Eurovea City. It is on the edge of the historical city centre, inside of the just growing new downtown.