Top Commission jobs point to social progress

The distribution of Commission portfolios announced today is a hopeful sign that the EU can deliver social progress over the next five years – now it’s time for the right personnel to deliver the right policies.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) applauds the fact that the proposed Commission is gender balanced and places politicians who understand the needs of working people in key roles.

But the ETUC will look very carefully at how Von der Leyen’s guidance to commissioners will be turned into an ambitious, socially and environmentally friendly work programme to achieve sustainable growth and quality jobs.

The ETUC specifically welcomes the following developments: 

  • Nicholas Schmit and Paolo Gentiloni, proposed for the jobs and economy portfolios, were both strong supporters of the European Pillar of Social Rights. ETUC hopes Schmidt will do all he can to fully implement the social pillar, and that Gentiloni will ensure economic policy supports workers’ rights and a strong European industrial policy.
  • The ETUC also welcomes working again with Commssioner Dombrovkis having established good working relations in the last mandate and looks forward to cooperating with him to ensure a positive integration of economic and social policies.
  • The allocation of the climate change portfolio to Frans Timmerman, the executive vice president, shows the issue has rightly risen up the Commission’s agenda. The election manifesto on which Mr Timmermans stood on at the European elections rightly recognised the importance of a Just Transition Fund and governance to ensure a carbon neutral economy is reached in a socially fair way.
  • As the former employment minister of Sweden, Ylva Johansson understands the importance of effectively integrating migrants into the labour market. This experience makes her well placed to bring a progressive approach to developing a new migration and asylum policy based on solidarity, responsibility and full respect for human rights.

ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:

“The composition of the new Commission gives us reason to believe that progress can be made on social issues over the next five years. The improved gender balanced is an important step forward and we’re pleased that politicians with a strong track record of standing up for working people have been proposed for key roles.

“We now need to see the detail of the plan that prospective commissioners will be asked to deliver over the next five years. The new team will have our full support if it delivers a more equal and sustainable economy, progressive social policy and legislation and a just transition to a green future.”