World of Work Summit 2016

Juncker: Social dialogue should return to centre of economic development

Addressing the International Labour Conference the President of the European Commission has called on the ILO to partner with the EU to support economic integration and social progress around the globe.

Press release | 09 June 2016
Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission
GENEVA (ILO News) – Progress on economic development within the EU can only come if it “breathes new life into social dialogue,” President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker has told an audience at the UN headquarters in Geneva.

“The challenge for us is to adapt our workplaces without compromising our fundamental values,” he added.

Speaking to delegates at the International Labour Conference (ILC), Juncker said that if real prosperity is to return to the European Union “social dialogue and the dialogue on economic issues must go together”.

As a guest of honour of the Conference, the President of the European Commission addressed some 5000 delegates from governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations from the 187 member States of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in a special sitting at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

Introducing the Commission President, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder emphasized the “solid cooperation” between the two organizations saying, “We share fundamental values and principles that are at the very heart of our respective mandates.”

“The promotion of a high level of employment, the endeavour for the constant improvement of peoples’ living and working conditions, the guarantee of adequate social protection for all, and the fight against social exclusion are some of our common objectives.”

In a wide ranging speech, Juncker spoke about the impact of the economic crisis on member states of the European Union, particularly on youth. “The crisis isn’t over and isn’t going to be over until we have full employment,” Juncker said, “young people deserve a job, a career.”

Juncker also commended the ILO for having put the decent work agenda at the heart of the international policy debate, at the highest level.

During the visit, Ryder presented the President of the European Commission with an advance copy of an ILO publication containing analysis and policy options designed to strengthen social rights and foster positive socio-economic convergence in the EU. The study, “Building a Social Pillar for European Convergence”, is an element of the ILO’s contribution to the European Pillar of Social Rights, launched by the Commission in March.

World of Work Summit

Before the start of the President’s visit the ILC addressed the issue of decent jobs for youth at a World of Work Summit.

The Summit opened with a video message from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The panellists included youth representatives from Kenya, the Philippines and Latin America, as well as the heads of the International Organization of Employers, the International Trade Union Confederation, and the Portuguese Minister of Labour. They were joined, via satellite link, by an internally displaced person and job seeker in Colombia and a young Somalian working in a Kenyan refugee camp.

The panel discussion was framed as part of the global debate on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The aim was to inform the ILO’s tripartite constituents about the UN Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth, and the ILO’s role in scaling up both action and impact.