EUCDW Board Meeting
On 03 June 2016, the Board of EUCDW convened in Portugal for the second Board meeting of the year. Discussions centred on the current economic and political situation in Portugal, the proposal of the European Commission for the revision of the rules on posted workers, and ongoing discussions on the TTIP position paper.
We had the honour to welcome two guests to the Board meeting from the European Parliament: MEP Jeroen Lenaers, acting chairman of the EPP Workers’ Group in the European Parliament, and MEP Sofia Ribeiro, member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.
Pedro Roque Oliveira, Secretary General of our Portuguese member organisation Trabalhadores Sociais Democratas (TSD) and former State Secretary for Employment of Portugal opened the meeting with a report on the state of play on economic and political developments in Portugal. He called for government stability and stressed in particular the importance of the 2012 Social Agreement between government and social partners for the successful implementation of economic reforms which brought the country back on a path towards sustainable economic growth.
Second, MEP Sofia Ribeiro, rapporteur for the European Parliament report on Employment and Social Aspects in the European Semester, pointed out the priorities of the Parliament for the European Semester and stressed their importance to ensure that economic growth and social progress go hand-in-hand, both in Portugal and in the EU: (1) investing in people; (2) ensuring socially responsible reforms; (3) boosting growth by relaunching investment; (4) guaranteeing a better use of EU structural funds in support of economic, social and territorial cohesion; and (5) social inclusion.
Next, discussions turned to the Commission’s proposal for a revision of the posting of workers’ directive, following an introduction by MEP Jeroen Lenaers. He stressed the importance of the main objectives of this initiative to (1) better tap the potential for labour mobility in the EU as one of the key strengths of the Single Market; (2) stimulate posting opportunities; and (3) ensure fair and clear rules that guarantee equal pay for equal work at the same place for both local and posted workers in the EU. The Board proposed to set out its priorities for the upcoming debate.
Fourth, the Board discussed the draft position paper on the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). A fruitful discussion took place during the meeting, with speakers stressing support for the objective to come to an agreement based on the negotiating mandate of the European Parliament and the Member States, which included a number of important conditions regarding the protection of high labour, social and environmental standards. Calls for maximum transparency in the negotiations and vigilance with regard to the ongoing negotiations on the reform towards a public investment court system were equally broadly supported.
The Board closed with the official presentation of the new EUCDW website and congratulations to our Portuguese member organisation TSD for the excellent hosting of the meeting.