Ahead of the German EU Presidency starting in July 2020, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Hubertus Heil gave an outlook of his country’s Presidency at a reception in Brussels on 17 February.

At the German Permanent Representation to the EU, he was joined by the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, and former long-term Luxemburg Minister of Employment and Social Affairs himself, Nicolas Schmit.

During their speeches, both focused on the EU’s priorities in the area of social and employment policies. Agreement existed that the challenges of the future of work and a just (digital) transition in conjunction with sustainable global supply chains should be managed with the involvement of strong social partners.

The current topic of “fair minimum wages” too would ideally be addressed through collective bargaining between strong social partners in line with national traditions rather than by legislators. Both stressed that economic progress has to go hand in hand with social progress.

The metal, engineering and technology-based industries, represented in Ceemet set out their priorities in a ‘10 Point Plan for a competitive industry sustaining social Europe’ how strong and mandated social partners make the difference and how a just (digital) transition can be achieved in consultation with industry.

Whatever the priorities are, there will be no solution to the upcoming challenges and opportunities without consulting industry as the digital transformation is already happening at the work floor.

[fLTR: Isabelle Schoenemann (ETUC), MEP Gaby Bischoff (S&D), Uwe Combüchen (Ceemet) and Minister Hubertus Heil (German federal government)]