DOC - Europa

László Andor
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion
The pursuit of competitiveness must go hand in hand
with promoting decent work
2014 International Labour Conference
Geneva, 9 June 2014
Mr Chairman,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,
This Conference holds great importance for the European Union.
The EU is experiencing an economic recovery, which is on the other hand very modest
and uneven.
Unemployment in the EU, and also in the Eurozone has started to fall, but we need to
strengthen the commitment to quality job creation among the policy priorities of our
Member States.
Combating long-term unemployment, tackling inactivity and early school leaving among
young people, and boosting female participation in the labour market are key
components of our employment strategy.
We are implementing an EU-wide Youth Guarantee so that all young people receive a
good-quality offer of employment, an apprenticeship, a traineeship or the chance to
continue their education or training within four months of leaving school or becoming
Our cooperation with the ILO on this matter has been very constructive.
On the other hand, we are also aware that targeted interventions cannot be substitutes
for a supportive macroeconomic policy mix, and in particular for repairing the European
single currency.
We are striving to strengthen the social dimension of our Economic and Monetary
Union, having understood that without collective action to tackle employment and social
challenges in a timely and effective manner, long-lasting disparities may develop, with
great risk to social as well as institutional sustainability.
Strengthening the social dimension of the EMU involves a new scoreboard of indicators
to identify major employment and social challenges quickly, forestall major problems
and reconcile economic efficiency and social fairness in decision-making. It also may
soon lead to discussing options for automatic stabilisers in a new EMU architecture.
This effort serves the endeavour for better coherence in macroeconomic, employment
and social policies, which is one of the key messages of this Conference.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The European Union made a substantial contribution to all agenda items of the
First, we need to be better equipped to combat today's forms of forced labour and
protect the victims more effectively.
All EU Member States have ratified the core labour standards, including Convention No
29 on forced labour.
They form part of our international agreements, instruments and our bilateral cooperations.
Our treaties and legislation cover action to combat forced labour, and we have special
legislation on trafficking in human beings.
We therefore consider this standard-setting process as very important and we hope that
the Conference confirms agreement on this issue.
Second, labour migration is a key feature of the world of work today. It involves complex
policy challenges that need addressing at all levels.
I also want to thank Director-General Guy Ryder for his report on Fair Migration.
The ILO Conventions have inspired our legislation, which grants non-EU workers rights
at work comparable to those of EU citizens.
We promote Convention No 189 on domestic workers and we are working with the ILO
to improve the situation of migrant domestic workers in migration corridors around the
And, in particular, I would like to welcome the publication of the World of Work report. It
contains useful pointers on policies that boost quality employment effectively.
A key point is the need to address the increase in inequality, which is detrimental to
economic growth and social cohesion.
The World of Work report makes the point that the pursuit of competitiveness must go
hand in hand with promoting decent work, and we agree with that approach.
Last week, in the same spirit, I presented a new Strategic Framework for Health and
Safety at Work for the European Union.
This new strategy aims to promote safe and healthy working conditions for all workers,
ensure a level playing-field and boost productivity across the EU. It highlights the
importance of closer international cooperation on health and safety at work — for
instance in global supply chains.
The Sustainability Compact for Bangladesh involving the EU, the USA, the ILO, and
the government of Bangladesh is a practical example of an integrated approach to
working conditions throughout the supply chain.
It has brought progress in labour standards and building safety in Bangladesh’s readymade garment sector but I am sure you agree that much more needs to be done.
The European Union contributes actively to the G20 sub-group on Safer Workplaces
to improve health and safety at work in the G20 countries, and elsewhere.
During this Conference, we actively contributed to the discussions on informal economy
and support the adoption the amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention.
Lastly, we agree that this Conference should conclude that sustainable development is
impossible without progress in the employment and decent work agenda, which should
be included as a central goal in the post-2015 development framework.
We have also voiced support and appreciation for the ILO’s efforts to include full,
productive employment, decent work and social protection within the post-2015
We believe in the great added value of the tripartite International Labour Organisation in
addressing these global issues.
We share a common ambition to make the world a better place to work and live in.
Thank you.