Today, 1 July 2020, Germany takes over the Presidency of the Council of the EU for the next six months, and with it the responsibility of coordinating the work of the Council, reconciling interests, preparing decisions and representing the Council, which is made up of the governments of the EU member states, both within and outside the EU. For Germany’s Labour Minister Hubertus Heil, the main aim in the months ahead is to make Europe more social, more just and future-ready – all under the banner of #MySocialEurope.
Our key task is to successfully steer Europe through and out of the crisis. For this, we need fair wages, good working conditions and social protection. The EU must combine a strong economy with social protection to an even greater extent than before. This is why, together with my EU colleagues; I want to work on strengthening the social dimension of Europe, especially in times like these. Because we are not just European neighbours. We are a European family.
The German Presidency comes at an extraordinary time. This renders it more difficult but all the more necessary to make progress. That is what we aim to attain or set in motion in the months ahead. Here is an overview of our concrete projects:
- During the German Presidency of the EU Council, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS) wants to promote EU frameworks for minimum wages and minimum income protection systems. Both of these initiatives contribute to the further implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and thus to raising living standards in EU member states.
- BMAS wants to secure good working conditions and stable jobs in a rapidly changing economy. Ensuring employability through continuing education and training is key in this regard. The focus will be on sharing experiences with the different continuing education and training systems and on mutual learning. EU labour ministers will also discuss ideas regarding a European regulatory framework for AI and regarding improved working conditions in the platform economy.
- We urgently need to improve the enforcement of existing labour and occupational safety and health law for seasonal workers. Among other things, the inhumane conditions in German meat processing plants underscore the need to take action here.
- BMAS wants to provide impetus for the European Commission to prepare an EU action plan on human rights and decent work in global supply chains. A focus here could be EU legislation on corporate due diligence requirements based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.