French President Emmanuel Macron mini tour to focus on temporary workers

PARIS (AFP) - French President Emmanuel Macron will focus on the free movement of labour with a three-day mini tour of eastern European Union states starting Aug 23, his office said on Monday (Aug 7).

Macron will meet Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern and Czech and Slovak prime ministers Bohuslav Sobotka and Robert Fico in Salzburg on Aug 23 before heading to Bucharest and Bulgaria's Black Sea port of Varna.

A presidential spokesman said Macron's hosts were making "cooperative" noises on the subject of so-called detached workers, who work on temporary contracts in other EU member states without joining that country's workforce.

A meeting of EU labour ministers to discuss detached workers is due on Oct 23.

Macron, elected in May, wants EU-wide negotiations on posted worker rules for fear that workers from eastern states are undercutting French labour rates.

On Aug 24, Macron will meet Romanian leaders before heading on to Bulgaria for talks which his office described as symbolically important.

A source said France was out to give greater attention to its eastern partners, indicating Germany was already doing so.

As soon as he returns from his trip, Macron will welcome German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the Elysee Palace for an Aug 28 summit along with Italian and Spanish heads of government Paolo Gentiloni and Mariano Rajoy.