Full #EFWeek2020 Manifesto
The European Freelancers Week started with a Manifesto, and given the enormous amount of change we have seen wrought since then, we felt it was time to launch a new one, to reflect current conditions which have considerably changed in five years.
The #EFWeek is the largest annual celebration of independent work and aims at self-empowerment of the self-employed. The highlighted events are by freelancers, for freelancers. We believe and maintain that freelancers are the drivers of innovation and change the way we work and live every day.
The theme of this year’s #EFWeek is “Freelancer Ecosystems in Europe” and the whole ecosystem is being tested every day. Personal responses range from anxiety, to eagerness to rise to the challenge – but everyone is surrounded by the uncertainty that includes the entire ecosystem. And, uncertainty is not good for freelancers and other living things.
Independent professionals experience a lack of benefits compared to their working counterparts, the feeling of loneliness and navigating the journey on their own, while some struggle to set rates that compete with the market. The #EFWeek Manifesto provides a uniformed declaration of the recognition and policies we are campaigning for the 12, 7 million highly skilled own-account workers in Europe.
Coworking in Europe is stepping forward to provide the infrastructure needed to integrate these changes right along the economy, from the biggest multinational to the student with a part time gig job.
"Give us a voice"
Give us official status at all levels of government and legislation. Talk to our representative organisations and give us a seat at the table.
"Call us by name"
We are highly skilled self-employed workers without employees. We are fixed term contractors, we are the people innovating the models of work with new approaches.Realise that we’re not the same as small and medium size enterprises or other activity categories.
Define freelancers as a specific heterogenous subset of micro enterprises for the purpose of the European SMEs definition.
When you create policy about employment and industry, think about how it will specifically affect freelancers, the smallest among small businesses.
We call for the SME Test and Think Small First approach in impact assessments to be adapted to freelancers and to self-employment, with thresholds and exemptions as applicable.
Produce “Better Regulation” and simplified policy that specifically consider the needs of freelancers.
"Give us access"
Make sure freelancers can access all government services, bid for official contracts, participate in training programs and qualify for funding. Design a welfare system more considerate to freelancers' needs and a portable benefits system for the growing independent workforce.
We call for stringent implementation of Art. 49 TFEU on “the right to take up and pursue activities as self-employed”, to be regularly evaluated in the economic governance process – notably the European Semester and the Country Specific Recommendations.
Create the right incentive structures to ensure freelancers can access work, foreign markets, public procurement, finance, and infrastructures and tax benefits as microbusinesses, and also social security, training, and protection from discrimination, at the same levels and conditions of employees
Include freelancers in all official statistics, and better research our sector. Don’t put us together with other small business categories.
We call for the set up of one Experts Group (DG Grow / Eurostat) to regularly count freelancers in Europe with up-to-date categories and criteria to measure work rather than just jobs.
Make Europe the best place to be a business by building world-class infrastructures for freelancers, making government contracts freelancer-friendly and incentivising the use of shared work spaces.
We call for governments to establish relationships with coworking spaces and networks to launch and nurture programs for small business and freelancers. We call for examination and adoption of the principles of the 15 Minute City.
Recognize independent coworking as the infrastructure and ecosystem of the New Economy and as such critical to solving problems such as economic downturn, and development in rural and suburban areas as well as decongesting cities and minimising the negative climate and social effects of large cities as they are now operated.