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Thank you, Chair.
I am speaking on behalf of the European Union and its Member States.
The EFTA country Norway, member of the European Economic Area, align itself with this statement.
We would like to reiterate the importance we attribute to the promotion, protection and respect of human rights, as safeguarded by ILO Conventions and other human rights instruments. The EU and its Member States also believe that safe and healthy conditions of work should be ensured for all everywhere and we support the recognition of the right to safe and healthy working conditions as a fundamental right at work. In the same spirit, we believe that labour inspection is fundamental in promotion of decent work. Compliance with ILO Conventions 81 and 129 is essential in this respect.
As a Candidate Country Serbia and the EU have a very close and constructive relationship. The EU and its Member States are determined to strengthen and intensify its engagement at all levels to support Serbia's political, economic and social transformation, including through increased assistance, based on tangible progress on the rule of law, as well as on socio-economic reforms... We nevertheless note with concern the Committee of Experts' observations on Serbia's non‑compliance with ILO Conventions 81 and 129 with regard to free entry of labour inspectors to workplaces without prior notice. We note with regret that the Law on Inspection Oversight No. 36/15 of April 2015 applies to labour inspection and provides for a number of restrictions on the powers of inspectors, including the requirement of three‑day prior notice for most inspections and a written inspection warrant (except in emergency situations) specifying, among other things, the purpose of the inspection and its duration. In addition, in case of recognition of non-compliance that exceeds the inspection warrant, the inspector must apply for an addendum to the warrant. Finally, we deeply regret that the law also introduces personal liability of the inspectors for the actions undertaken in the course of their duties for example the possible imposition of a fine, for an inspection undertaken without notification.
The share of undeclared work remains at around 20% and addressing this problem requires a comprehensive approach across the relevant ministries. Labour inspections have focused on tackling undeclared work, but the results do not have an impact yet on the level of this type of work.
We therefore call on the Government to ensure that the restrictions and limitations for labour inspectors in the Law on Inspection Oversight No. 36/15 are removed so as to ensure that labour inspectors are empowered to enter freely and without previous notice workplaces liable to inspection in conformity with ILO Conventions.
The EU and its Member States remain committed to their close cooperation and partnership with Serbia.
Thank you, Chair.