The EU wants to use the European Semester to better coordinate the economic policy of Member States in order to be more effectively equipped against economic crises. In order to make in particular the euro states more competitive, the European Commission proposed in July 2019 an additional governance framework, which shall set the reform and investment priorities for the Eurozone. However, from the AK EUROPA’s point of view, this proposal goes into the wrong direction.
On 22nd October, the outgoing Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addressed the European Parliament. In his farewell speech, he expressed his gratitude for the cooperation and reviewed the mandate after five years at the helm of the European Commission.
The creation of a European Labour Authority (ELA), which shall help to intensify the fight against cross-border wage and social dumping, had been a major concern for the Chamber of Labour. On 16th October the authority took up its work with an opening ceremony attended by Commission President Juncker and a first public meeting of its Management Board. However, the authority must first pass its field test.
On a global scale, violations of human rights, labour rights and environmental rights in a business context take place every day. Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) is a way for enterprises to manage potential adverse human rights impacts of their activities. This includes assessing actual and potential human rights impacts - including through its value chain or subsidiaries, integrating and acting upon the findings, tracking responses, and communicating how impacts are addressed.
The EU needs a long-term and active industrial strategy that focuses on people - this is the key message, which the President of the Chamber of Labour Lower Austria and ÖGB Lower Austria Chairman, Markus Wieser, stressed during his talks with high-ranking representatives of the EU institutions.
The hearings of the 1st round of the Commissioners-designate ended on October 8th 2019 in the European Parliament with the three executive Vice Presidents. In the afternoon, it was Margrethe Vestager’s turn, Commissioner-designate for Competition and also Executive Vice President-designate for a “Europe fit for the digital age”. It would be her second term in office in the European Commission.
The highlight of the 1st round of hearings of Commission Members-designate were those of the three executive Vice Presidents on 8th October 2019 in the EU. One of these was the Social Democrat Frans Timmermans, who, as First executive Vice President, shall above all plan and implement the Green Deal for Europe.
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The hearings of the Commissioners-designate started in the European Parliament on 30th September. The new Commissioner for Jobs too answered in a 3-hour hearing the questions of MEPs, in his case before the Employment Committee. From AK’s point of view, many important issues on the more social shaping of Europe were part of the hearing.
The first hearings of the Commissioners-designate took place in the European Parliament on 30th September. One of the first to be questioned was the Irishman Phil Hogan who appeared before the Trade Committee. He is no stranger on the European stage: currently he is Agriculture Commissioner and was able to do relatively well in his hearing. However, from the AK’s point of view, some of his replies were too vague and there was especially a lack of commitment with regard to sustainability.