Commission President von der Leyen used her first State of the European Union to set out her vision for the next 12 months by touching upon focus points. These ranged from building a Health Union, a EU Bauhaus project for culture to migration and new challenging climate goals of reducing CO2 emissions by 55% until 2030.

Key points for industry

As the recognised social partner for the metal, engineering and tech-based industries in Europe, Ceemet paid in particular attention to:

  • the commitment to invest 20% of #NextGenerationEU to digitalise Europe, be it skills and digital public services, is good news. There is a real need to drive the digital transformation, Ceemet highlighted in various publications ( Digitalisation & Skills, Digitalisation & Work, 10 Point Plan & Recovery plan) how this could be achieved and become a win-win situation for all parties involved. This commitment in combination with a new Industrial Strategy that is going to be presented in the first half of 2021 can set the direction.
  • the announcement to set up a framework for minimum wages. The first issue Ceemet sees with this announcement is that the EU has no competence in this field. → Read more about this in Ceemet’s reply to the consultation on minimum wages

EU & its industry

Ceemet is, just as President von der Leyen, a strong advocate of collective bargaining, but questions remain such as:

  • What about countries that have no history/experience in collective bargaining?
  • Shouldn’t it be about capacity building first? Putting structures into place.
  • How can a proposal fully respect national competencies and traditions and impose at the same time a European framework?

The direction Commission President von der Leyen mentioned at the beginning of her State of the European Union is there. Now it remains to be seen how this will be brought to live and which specific initiatives the Commission is going to launch and when. Ideally these initiatives are developed with industry so that they are as from the beginning workable and make sure that Europe’s industry remains competitive on the global stage.

The next step is getting the NextGenerationEU as quickly as possible operational. It should be Europe’s focus to get a sustainable economic recovery, while facilitating the digital transition and structural change of industry as Ceemet laid out it in its Recovery plan.