9 December 2021

French Presidency sets out priorities on social affairs

On the day of the presentation of the programme of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU, French Minister of Labour Elisabeth Borne and Director of Cabinet of the French State Secretary for European Affairs Garance Pineau explained the Ceemet General Assembly what their government’s priorities are on social affairs.

French Presidency focus…

The Minister of Labour, Employment & Inclusion described the agenda of the Presidency as ambitious as the Europe finds itself in an exceptional situation. On one hand Europe has to relaunch its own economy, while on the other hand it has to invest in order to build an economy that can handle the accelerated green and digital transitions.

For the twin transition to be a success, the Ms Borne urged Europe needs to make sure it has a globally competitive industry, reinforce the industrial sovereignty and include Europe’s employers and employees in this journey. She recalled that to make sure that everyone is on board, investment in skills, be it re- or up-skilling, will be crucial to support career changes.

At the same time, Ms Borne insisted that to make the French Presidency a success, it will be crucial to engage in a dialogue with the European and national social partners.

…and policy priorities

After the introduction on the focus of the Presidency, State Secretary Clément Beaune’s Director of Cabinet took the floor to talk about the priorities on social affairs policy.

During her presentation, Ms Pineau mentioned five files that are high on the agenda:

  1. Minimum wages
  2. Pay transparency
  3. Platform work
  4. Due diligence
  5. Skills/Individual Learning Accounts (ILAs)

Having positioned itself on each of the files, Ceemet members had the opportunity to engage in a frank and open discussion. Where Ceemet members expressed their concerns regarding the files that are on the table and the direction they are heading, Ms Pineau took the time to explain the Presidency’s position on each dossier.

She closed her contribution to the discussion by reiterating that social dialogue is not ‘a rhetoric thing’ for the Presidency and it will be up to social partners to come up with concrete proposals.