Freelancer und Solo-Selbstständige fordern mehr Rechte

Politische und wirtschaftliche Anerkennung, Zugang zu (Förder-)Angeboten der Regierung, Differenzierung von KMUs, einen EU Freelancer-Beauftragten sowie eine allgemeine faire Behandlung – dies wird, stark verkürzt dargestellt, im Freelancer Manifesto gefordert, eine Petition zur Stärkung der europäischen Freelancer-Bewegung. Wir sprachen mit Joel Dullroy, Co-Initiator der Petition, über die Stellung der Freiberufler und Solo-Selbstständigen.

Selbständige, Unternehmer, Freiberufler, freie Mitarbeiter, Auftragnehmer, Kleingewerbetreibende, Solo-Selbständige, Einzelkämpfer, Teilzeit- und nebenberuflich Selbständige: Dein Name ist Freelancer und deine Rechte europaweit noch unterrepräsentiert. Dies zu ändern, hat sich ein Zusammenschluss aus Freelancern, Non-Profit-Organisationen und Selbständigen-Netzwerken vorgenommen und geht mit dem Freelancer Manifesto an den Start, um Freiberuflern mehr Gehör zu verschaffen.

Erst wenn 10.000 Stimmen zusammenkommen, kann sich das European Forum of Independent Professionals (EFIP), ein Verbund von zehn nationalen Freelancer-Organisationen aus ganz Europa, mit der Petition unter dem Arm nach Brüssel begeben, um die Rechte der Freelancer an oberster Stelle einzufordern. Das gemeinsame Vorhaben zielt auf die Förderung der Interessen von Freiberuflern und Selbständigen auf EU-Ebene durch Forschung und Interessenvertretung ab.

Für-Grü Hello Mister Dullroy, you are the initiator of the European Freelancers Movement campaign. Could you please introduce yourself and the campaign?

Joel Dullroy von European Freelancers Movement: Our campaign is quite exciting, because it is represents the very first time that freelancers have joined together as a group to achieve a common political goal.

Freelancers across Europe are being asked to visit our website, sign our manifesto, and join in our movement to improve conditions for independent workers.

This campaign is the result of coordination between many different groups, such as freelancers’ associations, as well as individual volunteers. We want to send a message to politicians in Brussels – start taking us seriously! Recognize us as a new and important part of the workforce, and change some policies to improve our working situation.

About me – I’m a freelance journalist and business founder from Australia. I moved to Europe eight years ago, and have lived in Estonia and Germany. I’ve worked as a freelancer for many years, and I know all the ups and downs of this lifestyle. I want to ensure the positives of freelancing don’t outweigh the negatives.

Joel Dullroy
Der in Berlin lebende Australier, Joel Dullroy, ist Co-Initiator von European Freelancers Movement und Autor
des E-Books „Independents Unite!”

Für-Grü What is the current situation for freelancers in Europe?

Joel Dullroy von European Freelancers Movement: There are many differences across Europe for freelancers. For example, in Spain freelancers must pay an automatic social insurance of over 300 Euro a month, even if they earn nothing. That forces many to work illegally. In Germany, our health insurance costs are unfairly high, far above what regular workers pay. In the United Kingdom, freelancers are often accused of being „false freelancers”, and must fight bureaucracy just to keep doing their jobs. So each country has its own problems.

On a European level, freelancers are simply ignored. Although there are departments in Brussels to look after big and small businesses, no branch of the European Commission looks after freelancers. We are excluded from many funding and support programs. In fact, there aren’t even any proper statistics that tell us how many freelancers exist in the EU.

That’s why we launched this campaign. We want Brussels to recongize freelancers, count us properly, consult us about policy, and give us access to services.

Für-Grü What is your explanation that freelancers are barely getting acknowledgement?

Joel Dullroy von European Freelancers Movement: I think politicians and bureaucrats honestly don’t know about the realities of freelancing. They come from an era when people worked for big companies and had jobs for life. But today’s work world is completely different. No one has a job for life.

Our situation changes every few months. But our social and political structures are still built with the old world in mind. We need to tell politicians what it is really like being a freelancer.

Für-Grü Far from government and administration – what are the difficulties that freelancers have to deal with in everyday work?

Joel Dullroy von European Freelancers Movement: I am mostly focusing on political problems, but of course a freelancer has to deal with everyday challenges too. We have to find our own clients, and fight to keep them. Sometimes work dries up, and we have to scrape by while looking for new customers. Our income fluctuates, making it hard to budget and save. And we have to motivate ourselves, which can be difficult when you are working by yourself.

That’s why I recommend that all freelancers join an association, such as the VGSD in Germany, ACTA in Italy, or the PCG in England, which provide networking, support and political lobbying. It is also a good idea to join a coworking space, so you can surround yourself with similar people.

Gefordert wird im Freelancer Manifesto, dass Freiberufler mehr Aufmerksamkeit, höhere Anerkennung und eine faire Behandlung bekommen

Für-Grü What rights (and duties) for freelancers do you demand?

Joel Dullroy von European Freelancers Movement: Our campaign is calling for Brussels to recognize freelancers; give us access to funding and services; count us properly; give us a seat at the negotiating table; and treat us fairly. They are quite simple demands, but this is the first step we can take. On a national level, I would like to see new health insurance and retirement systems designed with freelancers in mind.

Regarding our duties, freelancers should be prepared to pay a fair amount of tax into the system. We’re not trying to avoid tax, but our taxation systems are complex and were designed for the old world. Freelancers are happy to contribute to society, but it needs to be done fairly.

Für-Grü You need 10.000 signatures for the Freelancer Manifesto – when is the deadline and what will happen when you have reached your goal?

Joel Dullroy von European Freelancers Movement: Right now we have over 3.000 signatures, which is a great result for a small campaign with a very small crowdfunded budget and no full time team members. Now that the EU parliament elections are over, we want to send a message to new politicians.

Hopefully we can gain our 10.000 signatures by July, to allow us to go to Brussels and introduce ourselves!

Für-Grü Thank you for the interview and good luck.

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