BRUSSELS - HOTREC, the umbrella association of hotels, restaurants and cafes in Europe, and EFFAT, the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions, call the Commission for the publication of their proposal for guiding policy principles on short term accommodation rentals, resulting from the intense cooperation between EU Member States’, Members of the European Economic Area and private stakeholders’ representatives under DG Grow coordination.
Following-up the Communication “A European agenda for the collaborative economy” published on 2 June 2016, the European Commission had announced at the Competitiveness Council on 20 February 2017, the development of sector-specific guidelines in order to allow for a harmonised approach in the Single Market when introducing necessary regulations related to collaborative economy type of tourist accommodation activities. Representatives of the 28 EU Member States, of the European Economic Area as well as of relevant private industry, trade unions and consumer associations (e.g. EHHA, ETTSA, BEUC, NECSTOUR, etc.) joined efforts between February and September 2017 to elaborate a set of recommendations for possible policy responses which were broadly approved at technical level during the last workshop on 25 September 2017. Now that the technical work is achieved, it is high time for political momentum to transform the broadly agreed conclusions of the working group into Commission guidelines, in close cooperation and consultation with the stakeholders, and to make these guiding policy principles officially available to the Member States, especially when considering the many challenges municipalities, businesses, consumers, workers and residents are facing at local level.
“The European Commission guiding policy principles which both public authorities across Europe and the tourism stakeholders have been jointly elaborating to respond to the need to ensure consumer protection and tax compliance as well as a level playing field for all business players alike must now be made public”, stressed Christian de Barrin, CEO of HOTREC.
“Currently, the collaborative economy seems to contribute to the increase of precarious if not undeclared work in tourism. The publication of jointly elaborated guiding policy principles, combined with an ambitious implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, would allow for a step towards creating decent jobs and channelling undeclared labour into legalised forms of work, benefiting workers, social security systems, governments’ treasuries as well as the tourism sector as a whole”, added Harald Wiedenhofer, Secretary General of EFFAT.
HOTREC and EFFAT have both been active contributors to the workshops organised by the European Commission on the matter and wrote a letter on 27 October 2017 to the President of the European Commission, Mr. Jean-Claude Juncker, asking to make a proposal for guiding policy principles available publicly and to the Member States, as announced earlier this year. Both organisations do not want to see the past months’ common efforts, which resulted in common conclusions overwhelmingly supported by all stakeholders, ending-up unexploited, but rather benefitting the Single Market.