Sunday

15th Dec 2019

Magazine

The labour market is not ready for the future

The president of the committee for employment and social affairs (EMPL), Lucia Duris Nicholsonova (ECR, Slovakia), writes in her welcome to the committee website that EMPL is "responsible for employment and all aspects of social policy including working conditions, social security, social inclusion and social protection; the free movement of workers and pensioners; workers' rights; health and safety measures at the workplace; the European Social Fund; vocational training policy, including professional qualifications; social dialogue; and all forms of discrimination at the workplace and in the labour market except those based on sex."

However, her most important worry is that "we are not ready for the challenge of ageing population, climate and digital transformation."

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

Duris Nicholsonova quotes figures from the European Commission saying that "around 17 percent of jobs in the EU are at risk of being automated and nearly one-in-three jobs will change significantly. The jobs threat from automation is varying from less than 10 percent in Finland to shocking 33 percent in Slovakia.

"Moreover," she continues, "in spite of a downward trend in the last years, still a shocking 22.4 percent of the Union population was at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the Union in 2017, and 24.9 percent of children are concerned by poverty and social exclusion (from 14.2 percent in Czech Republic to 41.7 percent in Romania)."

These figures summarise the challenges of the EMPL committee.

With the commission, the committee will discuss the European Pillar of Social Rights and a number of initiatives within it, such as Child Guarantee and full implementation of the Work-Life Balance Directive.

On top of that, Duris Nicholsonova promises to "keep on fighting poverty more efficiently and guarantee children access to basic services such as childcare," and to work on the pay and pension gap of female workers.

Despite the fact that all these dossiers seem to be consensual challenges, several political parties see different solutions.

But probably more important will be the divide between 'eastern' and 'western' member states.

According to Duris Nicholsonova "the differing level of employment social standards and rules on the cross-border provision of services, where they have a significant effect as competitive factors" have proved to be divisive between those states.

Here she hopes that as a president of the EMPL committee and as an "elected member of a 'new member state'" to play a role in bridging that gap.

The committee will also try to "have more efficient EU funding and avoid misusing of the funds on clearly inefficient or fraudulent projects".

An interesting new point on the agenda might come from the commission, as the committee called on it "to examine the possibility for a proposal for a European Social Security Number without undue delay."

It is clear that the EMPL committee will be one to watch in the years to come.

Coordinators: Dennis Radtke (EPP, Germany), Agnes Jongerius (S&D, Netherlands), Dragos Pislaru (Renew, Romania), Kira Marie Peter-Hansen (Greens/EFA, Denmark), France Jamet (ID, France), Elzbieta Rafalska (ECR, Poland), Nikolaj Villumsen (GUE/NGL, Denmark).

This article first appeared in EUobserver's latest magazine, Who's Who in European Parliament Committees, which you can now read in full online.
Automation threat to jobs will hit EU unevenly

New technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotics, have the potential "to displace some workers from their tasks, even causing some jobs to disappear entirely", affecting the work nature of millions of jobs in Europe, according to a new report.

MEPs excluded from deciding new EU labour agency HQ

A ministerial vote will determine the seat of the new European Labour Authority - leaving MEPs excluded from the selection process. Infamously, the new HQs for the European Medicines Agency and European Banking Authority were only decided by drawing lots.

Opinion

Commission social security rules hit cross-border workers

The Commission's proposal to revise the rules on which social security system covers workers when they cross borders, originally a technical clarification, has opened the floodgates for national interests to be put above workers' rights.

Magazine

Six priorities for human rights

Belgian socialist MEP Marie Arena is chairing the European Parliament's sub-committee on human rights. Her biggest challenge? Finding ways to reach objectives that cover an enormous spectrum of issues - from climate to child protection.

Magazine

EU must manage climate and industry together

For Romanian centre-right MEP Adina-Ioana Valean, the previous chair of environment committee and current chair of industry, research and energy (ITRE), climate and industrial policy-making must go hand-in-hand to bring sustainability and prosperity to Europe.

Magazine

ENVI to deliver 'Green Deal' as main priority

The French liberal MEP Pascal Canfin, who is chairing the European Parliament's committee on environment, public health, and food safety, is adamant to deliver the Green Deal quickly - because "we cannot afford to waste time".

News in Brief

  1. EU Scream podcast wins media award
  2. Sturgeon will set out Scottish independence plan next week
  3. Slovenia, Croatia ex-leaders highlight jailed Catalans
  4. Italian court tells Facebook to reopen fascist party's account
  5. EU extends sanctions on Russia until mid-2020
  6. UK exit poll gives Johnson majority of 86
  7. Orban: 'financial guarantees' to reach climate neutrality
  8. Merkel hopes EU leaders agree 2050 climate-neutrality

Magazine

Welcome to the EU engine room

Welcome to the EU engine room: the European Parliament (EP's) 22 committees, which churn out hundreds of new laws and non-binding reports each year and which keep an eye on other European institutions.

Magazine

Which parties and countries chair the EP committees?

Although the European Parliament tries to keep a geopolitical balance within the committees, the breakdown of the actual chairs of the committees by political party and nationality is uneven - with a clear under-representation of central and eastern EU countries.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers40 years of experience have proven its point: Sustainable financing actually works
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Baltic ministers paving the way for 5G in the region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  5. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture

Latest News

  1. EU values face scrutiny This WEEK
  2. EU sighs relief after 'decisive' Johnson victory in UK
  3. Huge win for Conservatives in UK election
  4. Behind bars: a visit to an imprisoned Catalan politician
  5. Leaders agree 2050 climate neutrality - without Poland
  6. EU leaders cagey on 'Future of Europe' conference
  7. Pressure mounts to grill Malta's Muscat at EU summit
  8. Revealed: little evidence to justify internal border checks

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  2. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  3. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  5. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  6. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us