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Parliament votes against entrepreneurship

17 June 2010
by ESBA -- last modified 17 June 2010

In a disastrous vote the European Parliament has opened the floodgates to legislation that will harm entrepreneurship throughout the European Union. By deciding against a Commission proposal which aims to exclude independent self-employed drivers in the transport sector from a directive that rigorously restricts working hours, the Parliament has set a dangerous precedent in interfering in the manner in which self-employed organize their working time.


Directive 2002/15/EC serves as social protection for employees against abuse by their employers. One of the main reasons why the Commission proposed to exclude self-employed drivers from this directive is that these drivers neither want nor need this type of protection, as they are not employees. Moreover, being able to organize one's own working time is a vital part of being self-employed and crucial to keep a business alive, especially in the current economic situation. Not only has the European Parliament administered a serious blow to the appeal of becoming self-employed in a transport sector that is already struggling to cope with diminishing numbers of drivers, by voting against the Commission proposal, the Parliament has opened the doors to regulating working hours for self-employed in other sectors as well.

ESBA President Tina Sommer says:

Today's vote means a serious setback in the much needed promotion of entrepreneurship in the European Union. In an economic climate where people are struggling to keep their businesses afloat and whereby the flexibility to organize their own working hours is vital, a decision such as the one made by the European Parliament today cannot possibly be justified. What good are any efforts by the EU institutions to enhance the legislatory environment for SMEs if at the same time obstructions are created somewhere else? This unwelcome restriction will undoubtedly result in loss of competitiveness, loss of innovation, and loss of job creation.

The European Small Business Alliance is a non-party political group, which cares for small business entrepreneurs and the self-employed and represents them through targeted EU advocacy and profiling activities. ESBA also works towards the development of strong independent advocacy and benefits groups in European countries.

European Small Business Alliance (ESBA)