On 1st January 2023, Sweden took over the presidency of the Council of the European Union for six months in challenging times for industry. For its six month presidency, Sweden has proposed four main priorities which reflect the traditional positions that this country has always held in the EU: security - unity; resilience - competitiveness; prosperity - green and energy transition and democratic values and the rule of law - our foundation.
As this presidency also marks 30th anniversary of the launch of the internal market, Sweden wants to enhance the competitiveness of EU businesses with short-term emergency measures, to tackle the energy and inflation crises, but also by ensuring sustainable, green and digital development of EU businesses with solid resilience. Ceemet welcomes this competitiveness ambition which takes into account not only the difficulties of companies linked to the current crises, but also the need for measures at EU level to accelerate the twin transitions and the need for adequate skills on the labour market.
Furthermore, the presidency points out in its programme, the necessity of continuous education continuing education and further education to equip individuals and businesses with the right skills for the digital and green transitions. This has the objective of enhancing EU competitiveness and ensuring the right skills for the jobs of the future in the EU.
“All citizens must be equipped for a rapidly changing labour market. Basic skills and lifelong learning are the building blocks that resolve skills supply challenges. Work is the most important prerequisite for self-sufficiency and reduces the risk of poverty and social exclusion, which also leads to increased opportunities to invest in publicly financed welfare.” (Ulf Roswall, Prime Minister of Sweden).
Welcoming these objectives, Ceemet looks forward to working closely with the Swedish presidency, especially on the issue of labour and skills shortages as well as on career guidance, STEM and the attractiveness of our industries. These are topics which we must address in order to increase the competitiveness of the MET industries. Ceemet fully supports the EU’s green and digital transitions and stresses the necessity of creating a special support program for the transport sector, especially the automotive sector, to accelerate the twin transitions.
In its chapter dedicated to “Employment, social policy, health care and consumer affairs”, the presidency will pursue EU work on the revision of the Asbestos Directive and will start to revise the Chemical Agents Directive. These are topics on which Ceemet is very active and looks forward to engaging with the presidency. The Swedish presidency also intends to advance the proposed Directive on Platform at work. As Ceemet has already highlighted, it’s fundamental to preserve the status of the real self-employed and obtain a balanced and proportionate approach. The Trilogue regarding the Directive on binding measures for transparency in salary-setting will continue. On this file, Ceemet members are deeply concerned by the increased administrative and financial burden following the requirements that are to be imposed on MET companies, particularly SMEs.
For those reasons, Ceemet hopes for an effective social dialogue at EU level supported by the presidency. As is mentioned in its program: “The social partners play a vital role in a well-functioning labour market. The presidency intends to strengthen the social dialogue by addressing the proposal announced by the Commission for a Council recommendation on enhanced social dialogue.”
Ceemet stands ready, as a key social partner, to work hand in hand with the presidency on the current legislative initiatives and also on any new proposals announced.