13 September 2023

Ceemet reacts to the 2023 State of the Union speech

On 13 September 2023, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, delivered the 2023 State of the Union speech. It was the opportunity to defend her mandate before the upcoming elections of the European Parliament in 2024 and set out her priorities for the coming year.

From the point of view of the employers of the Metal, Engineering & Technology-based industries, this mandate has been one of overregulation. For example, the pay transparency directive, which misses its target of pay equality between men and women and creates excessive administrative burden in companies. This mandate has put on companies especially on SMEs, loads of new administrative burdens, instead of pushing for a better implementation of existing legislation.

During the last five years, companies have fought back and innovated in the face of unprecedented crises: sanitary, energy, economic, along with the return of war at Europe’s door. Despite those difficulties, companies continued to make progress in terms of the digital and green transitions and did their best to maintain employment, boosted of course by the SURE mechanism as highlighted by President von der Leyen. However, despite companies’ good work, regulations contained within the EU Green Deal have not taken into account realistic deadlines to achieve those transitions.

However, one positive thing which can be mentioned: President von der Leyen has put an emphasis on the urgent need to upskill and reskill the EU workforce with the 2023 European Year of Skills. Some of the bottlenecks to this were highlighted, and a proposed solution, a social partner summit in Val Duchesse, is to be welcomed by Ceemet – in the words of President von der Leyen, “the future of Europe will be built with and by the social partners”.

MET employers already shared their expectations and action plan for the next EU mandate in a blueprint entitled “For a more competitive industry in a stronger Europe: a Ceemet perspective”( link). Ceemet hopes to work closer with the next EU Commission, and European Parliament, to find the right balance between economic and social ambitions.