ILO Director-General discusses bilateral cooperation with the European Commission

During his first official visit to Brussels, the ILO Director-General met the Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, the Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, and the EU Commissioners for Jobs and Social Rights and for International Partnerships. They discussed ongoing work and the priorities ahead.

News | 01 December 2022
BRUSSELS (ILO News) - ILO Director-General Gilbert F. Houngbo has made his first visit to the European Commission in Brussels since taking up office on 1 October 2022. He had several bilateral meetings and presented his vision for the ILO, in particular his proposal to forge a Global Coalition for Social Justice.

Becoming a climate-neutral continent has been the first headline ambition of this Commission, since it took up its mandate in 2019.

Mr Houngbo and Mr Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, discussed the outcomes of the COP27 UN Climate Change Conference and the initiatives launched at the Just Transition Pavilion, which the ILO hosted with the European Commission. They discussed the importance of ensuring a just transition, industrial transformation and skills development, including identifying skills needs for green jobs.

The Director-General also stressed the importance of social protection and ILO work in respect of the Global Accelerator on jobs and social protection for just transitions. He expressed his appreciation for the leadership the EU is taking in fostering a just green transition.

© European Commission
The ILO and the European Commission collaborate on skills and migration, both policy areas for which Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, is responsible. He discussed recent Commission initiatives to attract talent and improve legal migration opportunities to alleviate labour market shortages in the EU. He informed about a legal initiative to facilitate the recognition of qualifications of third-country nationals, which is scheduled for adoption next year, during the European Year of Skills.

Mr Houngbo welcomed the opportunity to cooperate on migration and referred to the ILO’s recent work focussing on fair legal migration and skills recognition.

© European Commission
The meeting with Nicolas Schmit, EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, provided the opportunity to discuss the status of the EU labour market and take stock of recent developments with regard to employment and social policy in Europe and beyond. They also discussed the challenges related to the war in Ukraine.

The Commissioner discussed on-going legislative work, including the proposed Directive on improving working conditions in platform work, and the recently adopted Directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU. He underlined the importance of international labour standards, which is underpinned by the Communication on decent work worldwide for a global just transition and a sustainable recovery. The Commissioner also informed Mr Houngbo about the EU action plan for social economy.

The Director-General thanked Mr Schmit for the Commission’s long-standing partnership with the ILO, and said that he looks forward to continuing and stepping up the close collaboration.

© European Commission
During his meeting with Jutta Urpilainen, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, the Director-General presented his proposal for a Global Coalition for Social Justice, which will serve as a framework for policy coherence and concerted action on social justice at the multilateral level and beyond. By bringing together relevant actors with a common ambition to promote sustainable and inclusive development, the Coalition would pave the way towards a new global social contract.

The Commissioner said that such an initiative is very relevant, also in the context of the fight against inequalities in income and opportunities. The Coalition was also seen as being in keeping with the Commissioner’s priority of ensuring access to education.

Mr Houngbo welcomed the strong EU-ILO collaboration to advance decent work in global supply chains, which also focusses on issues related to due diligence and the eradication of child labour.

The ILO and the European Commission are long-standing partners and share fundamental values and a joint commitment to promote decent work and international labour standards, to improve working conditions and to foster social and economic progress. This cooperation continues to lead to tangible improvements in the world of work.