The Employment and Social Affairs Committee questioned Nicolas Schmit, candidate for the Jobs portfolio, on Europe’s social dimension and the future of work.
Political groups’ coordinators from the committee will meet within 24 hours to assess the performance of Luxembourg's Commissioner-designate Schmit.
European Social Pillar of Rights and fair minimum wage
During his introductory speech, Mr Schmit underlined his strong commitment to the European project and values, and to the economic and social progress of citizens. “The strength of the European model is to reconcile economic and social issues and to fully incorporate the environmental dimension.”
If confirmed, Mr Schmit will pursue two main goals: Firstly, to boost employment and to promote a well-skilled workforce responsive to the digital and climate transition ahead of us. Secondly, he announced he would put social rights for all and social inclusion at the centre of his priorities.
MEPs put forward several questions on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, particularly about concrete legislative proposals and financial support to create a genuine Social Europe. Members wanted to know how to adequately protect the social rights and working conditions of digital platform workers. Members also questioned the commissioner-designate on his commitment to establish an EU Child Guarantee to fight child poverty, in particular how such a policy should be funded.
Members also asked about legislation on an EU minimum wage, in light of protecting well-established social dialogue and collective bargaining practices in some countries. Others asked about plans to support digital vocational skills and related issues on training and education. Later in the hearing, MEPs raised questions about supporting SMEs to meet today’s challenges while ensuring fair wages and decent working conditions. Furthermore, members raised issues such as posting of workers rules, access to jobs for disabled people, how to boost the social economy and increase social housing. They also raised concerns over the EU unemployment reinsurance scheme.
Based on the committees’ recommendations, the Conference of Presidents will decide on 17 October if Parliament has received sufficient information to declare the hearing process closed. If so, the plenary will vote on whether or not to elect the Commission as a whole on 23 October, in Strasbourg.