European wage alliance

Towards a European Wage Alliance

26 June 2018 14:00-18:00

Hotel Ramada Sofia City Centre

131 Maria Louisa Boulevard
1202 Sofia

Event details

The European Trade Union Confederation hosts an event bringing together EU institutions, Ministers, employers and trade unions to discuss:

  • tackling wage inequalities between and within EU member states
  • establishing a ‘European Wage Alliance’ for reducing wage inequalities (by upward wage convergence)

Speakers confirmed so far (with more expected) include:

  • Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria (and current President of the Council of the European Union); Biser Petkov, Bulgarian Minister of Labour; Deputy Minister Zornitsa Roussinova.
  • Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs and representatives of the European Central Bank and the Economic Policy Committee (of EcoFin)
  • Ministers José Antonio Vieira da Silva, Portugal; Georgia Emilianidou, Cyprus 
  • Deputy Ministers Bartosz Marczuk, Poland and Athanasios Iliopoulos, Greece; Assistant Minister Karolina Ivankovic, Croatia   
  • State Secretaries Rolf Schmachenberg, Germany; Yolanda Valdeolivas Garcia, Spain; Irene Wennemo, Sweden; Judit Varga, Hungary; Branislav Ondrus, Slovakia
  • Eric Lebedel, Ambassador of France to Bulgaria; Amadeo Trambajolo, Advisor to the Ministry of Labour; Italy;  and Karlis Engelis, Advisor to the Minister for Welfare, Latvia 
  • Trade union leaders Luca Visentini, Rudy de Leeuw and Esther Lynch (ETUC), Plamen Dimitrov (CITUB, Bulgaria), Dimitar Manolov (Podkrepa, Bulgaria), Carmelo Barbagallo (UIL, Italy), Sharan Burrow (ITUC), Isabelle Barthès (IndustriAll), Arnold Balcaen (European Works Council of EOR Bekaert), and employers Thérèse de Liederkerke (BusinessEurope), Valeria Ronzitti (CEEP), Véronique Willems (UEAPME) and Uwe Combuechen (CEEMET)
  • Written message from Minister Beate Hartinger-Kleiun, Austria  and video from Minister Nicola Schmit, Luxembourg.   


13.00 – Press Conference with Minister Biser Petkov, and trade union leaders Luca Visentini, Plamen Dimitrov and Dimitar Manolov

14.30 – Conference Opening panel with Prime Minister Borisov, Commissioner Thyssen, speakers from European trade unions (ETUC) and employers (Business Europe, CEEP, UAPME)

15.15 – Moderated debate with Ministers and State Secretaries, EU institutions, employers and trade unions

17.10 – Closing panel with Minister Petkov

Reasons for the conference and initiative include:

  • Unjustifiably large wage gaps between east and west and north and south of the EU (see for example
  • The commitment adopted by the EU in November 2017 in the European Pillar of Social Rights to the principle that “Workers have the right to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living”.  

The whole event is open to the media. Media registrations to [email protected] 

For others to wish to register, please contact [email protected] 

Speech by European Commissioner Thyssen

- Video contribution by Nicolas Schmit, Employment Minister of Luxembourg



Photos of the conference

ETUC in Sofia: Executive Committee & #WageAlliance