Wednesday, 2 April 2008

EU TFEU: Exchange of young workers

Free movement of workers within the European Community (European Union) includes the idea to promote the mobility of young workers. We look at how this idea is expressed in the EU Treaty of Lisbon.

With 23 different treaty languages, we look at some questions concerning translation of both treaties and other texts within the context of the European Union.

Finally, we are left wondering if the provision we are about to discuss has been left hanging in the air, because the actions seem to be carried out in another context.


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Article 41 of the Treaty establishing the European Community (TEC) is one of the provisions bypassed silently by the intergovernmental conference in the Treaty of Lisbon (ToL). Cf. OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/54.

We turn to the latest consolidated version of the treaties, TEU and TEC, in OJ 29.12.2006 C 321 E/58 for the current Article:

Article 41 TEC

Member States shall, within the framework of a joint programme, encourage the exchange of young workers.

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There are no express amendments, and there seem to be no horizontal amendments to take into account either (cf. OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/41-44). We add the location of the provision and the future renumbering with the help of the annexed Tables of equivalences referred to in Article 5 of the Treaty of Lisbon (OJ 17.12.2007 C 306/207-208) to arrive at the Article according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU):

Part Three ‘Policies and internal actions of the Union’

Title III (renumbered Title IV) ‘Free movement of persons, services and capital’

Chapter 1 ‘Workers’

Article 41 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 47 TFEU

Member States shall, within the framework of a joint programme, encourage the exchange of young workers.

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There was no change of wording in the English language version of Article III-20 of the draft Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (OJ 18.7.2003 C 169/31).

In English, Article III-135 of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe was unchanged, too (OJ 16.12.2004 C 310/60).

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Translation

Translating is a necessary activity within the European Community (European Union), and dealing with translated texts is unavoidable if Community legislation and other written information is part of your work or studies.

Just as an illustration of the complexity with several treaty languages (now 23), I offer you two examples I stumbled upon while looking at this provision, as well as an added comparison.

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Spanish


Article 41 “TEC”

Artículo 41

Los Estados miembros facilitarán, en el marco de un programa común, el intercambio de trabajadores jóvenes.


Article III-20 “Draft Treaty”

Artículo III-20

Los Estados miembros facilitarán, en el marco de un programa común, el intercambio de trabajadores jóvenes.


Article III-135 “Constitution”

Artículo III-135

Los Estados miembros propiciarán, en el marco de un programa común, el intercambio de trabajadores jóvenes.


“ToL TFEU”

Silence


We notice that nothing is said in the Lisbon Treaty, so its wording is the same as the current TEC. Still, between the draft Constitution and the Constitutional Treaty ‘facilitarán’ became ‘propiciarán’ before reverting to the existing wording. In other words, during the IGC 2004 someone made a decision to express the meaning by a different word.

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German


Article 41 “TEC”

Artikel 41

Die Mitgliedstaaten fördern den Austausch junger Arbeitskräfte im Rahmen eines gemeinsamen Programms.


Article III-20 ”Draft Treaty”

Artikel III-20

Die Mitgliedstaaten fördern den Austausch junger Arbeitnehmer im Rahmen eines gemeinsamen Programms.


Article III-135 “Constitution”

Artikel III-135

Die Mitgliedstaaten fördern den Austausch junger Arbeitnehmer im Rahmen eines gemeinsamen Programms.


“ToL TFEU”

Silence


‘Of young workers’ is rendered as ‘junger Arbeitskräfte’ in the current TEC and the coming Lisbon Treaty, but both the draft Constitution and the Constitutional Treaty used the expression ‘junger Arbeitnehmer’, which could have a more restrictive meaning.

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French


Article 41 “TEC”

Article 41

Les États membres favorisent, dans le cadre d’un programme commun, l’échange de jeunes travailleurs.


Article III-20 “Draft Treaty”

Article III-20

Les États membres favorisent, dans le cadre d'un programme commun, l'échange de jeunes travailleurs.


Article III-135 “Constitution”

Article III-135

Les États membres favorisent, dans le cadre d'un programme commun, l'échange de jeunes travailleurs.


“ToL TFEU”

Silence


In the French version neither the verb ‘favorisent’ nor the ‘jeunes travailleurs’ have changed along the way. Earlier we saw that the English version remained the same throughout.

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There are certainly people more competent than I am to discuss the difficulties of presenting the intended meaning in different languages, but I mention a few questions for thought and comment:

We have noted that the French and English language versions have remained unchanged, but how well do ‘favorisent’ and ‘encourage’ express the same meaning?

How much should be read into a change of expression, like ‘propiciarán’ instead of ‘facilitarán’ or ‘junger Arbeitnehmer’ instead of ‘junger Arbeitskräfte’, in isolation from other (unchanged) language versions?

If in doubt, should other language versions be consulted?

If each treaty language is equally authentic, which of them should be compared if you want to get the exact meaning?

If the treaties – arguably the most important documents of the European Union – are given meticulous care, how much more differences are there in day to day texts, say press releases from the European Parliament?

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The discussion above was academic in the sense that the current and the coming treaty provisions remain the same in the four languages mentioned. Insofar as they express the same meaning now, they will continue to do so.

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Back to the contents of the Article.

Article 41 TFEU (ToL), renumbered Article 47 TFEU, is interesting in that it does not clearly address the question who should carry on the joint programme. Is it intended to be an activity of the European Community (European Union), or does it invite the governments of the member states to agree on and administer such a programme separately?

The second observation is that currently there seems to be no specific programme based on this Article, especially if by ‘young workers’ one means people employed (‘Arbeitnehmer’).

Within the context of vocational training there have been Leonardo da Vinci programmes, with the current one as one of four sectoral programmes under the heading of the Lifelong Learning Programme 2007 – 2013:

http://ec.europa.eu/education/programmes/newprog/index_en.html

Decision No. 1720/2006/EC of the European Parliament and the Council of 15 November 2006, establishing an action programme in the field of lifelong learning (OJ 24.11.2006 L 327/45) does not mention Article 41 TEC as a legal basis.

Article 3 of the Decision mentions the sectoral sub-programmes, including the Leonardo da Vinci programme:

Article 3
Sub-programmes

1. The sectoral sub-programmes shall be the following:
---
(c) the Leonardo da Vinci programme, which shall address the teaching and learning needs of all those in vocational education and training, other than at tertiary level, as well as the institutions and organisations providing or facilitating such education and training;
---

Chapter III of the Decision (Articles 24 to 27) deals with access to, objectives and actions of as well as amounts allocated to the Leonardo da Vinci programme. The programme is aimed at, among others, people learning in all forms of vocational training and training (except at tertiary level) and people in the labour market. One of the objectives is to enhance the attractiveness of vocational education and training and mobility for employers and individuals and to facilitate the mobility of working trainees. An operational objective is to increase placements in enterprises to at least 80000 per year by the end of the Lifelong Learning Programme.


Ralf Grahn