EU and ILO reinforce cooperation for just recovery from crisis and promote decent work

The International Labour Organization and the European Union have reinforced their cooperation to shape the future of work and promote decent work. This will help the EU and the ILO in their responses to the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis on the world of work.

News | 04 February 2021
The European Commission and the ILO signed a renewed exchange of letters on Thursday 4 February, updating the framework for their longstanding cooperation that began in 1958. This is the third formal agreement, following previous exchanges of letters in 1989 and 2001.

On occasion of the exchange of letters, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder and EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit confirmed their cooperation on a number of pressing matters.

Commissioner Nicolas Schmit said: “The world of work is profoundly changing. The pandemic is having an immense impact on employment and social affairs. Digitalisation and climate change transform the what, where and how of our work. We have to act now and seize the momentum to tackle these important challenges, but at the same time we have to ensure that we build in the social dimension in the transition. I look forward to continuing our good cooperation with the ILO to build a better future of work in the EU and across the world.”

ILO Director-General Guy Ryder said: “Our partnership with the European Commission is very valuable to us. At a time when the world of work is facing so many challenges, we need to join forces for a human-centred approach to the future of work. I look forward to continuing our strong partnership.”


The EU and the ILO cooperate on a broad range of topics and put people in the centre of their approach to the future of work. Both organizations have a shared commitment to multilateralism and ensuring a just transition to a sustainable future of work.

The mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and ILO has led to tangible results. Together, the ILO and the EU recently helped improve the working conditions in the maritime and fishing sectors. They also promote decent work (e.g. in global supply chains), fundamental principles and rights at work, social dialogue, social protection, Occupational Safety and Health, gender equality, skills and youth employment.

The ILO also supported the EU in implementing its Youth Guarantee, which helps young people across the EU improve their chances of finding a job.

The EU and the ILO are committed to intensifying their cooperation to improve living and working conditions worldwide, promote human rights and contribute to ending poverty, leaving no-one behind.