Joint FEMM-SOC meeting assesses the work of the new Commission

The joint meeting of the CESI Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM) and Employment and Social Affairs (SOC) Committees took place today in Brussels at CESI’s premises. The participants assessed the work new European Commission and the European Parliament in gender equality and social dialogue matters and deplored the lack of ambition.

Joint FEMM-SOC meeting assesses the work of the new Commission

FEMM president Kirsten Lühmann deplored that the share of women in the newly elected European institutions didn’t increase significantly. Furthermore she pointed to the maternity leave directive which was supposed to increase the minimum leave period to 18 months. However, since the negotiations have been blocked by the Council, the proposal is likely to be withdrawn by the Commission and to be replaced by a much less ambitious proposal.

Since the European proposal on a quota for leading position hasn’t been pursued by the European legislator, the participants reported if and how corresponding laws have been adopted in their respective countries. All in all they noticed slight advancements, whereas the overall share of women is still too low.

The committee also called upon the European Institutions to make home care less of a burden for those who are concerned most – women. In an ever ageing society women are very often not only those who are in the need for being taken care of, but also the ones who stay at home in order to take care of the elderly. This can have detrimental effects on their professional career and increases the risk of poverty at a later stage. Paola Panzeri from COFACE presented to this effect the organisation’s European Reconciliation Package. The collaboration between CESI and the European Women’s Lobby was presented by Carmen Jaffke, who has been elected in the EWL policy committee.

Margarida Seoane, president of the SOC committee gave an outlook on the situation in her home country Portugal and deplored that youth unemployment is still huge. While the expectations towards the new European Commission are quite high, concrete results are not visible yet.

Sigried Capsar from DG EMPL explained how the Commission under the lead of its president Jean-Claude Juncker intends to boost the Social Dialogue on European level. However, as stated CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger, making Social Dialogue more successful, inclusive and democratic starts with taking all social partners on board, not only the biggest ones. After all, diversity is one of the values of the European Union.

CESI Youth Representative Matthäus Fandrejewski presented his agenda for the CESI youth, stressing that it is important to increase the share of young people in trade union organisations.


At the fringe of the meeting, the representatives of the German organisation dbb Kirsten Lühmann and the Spanish organisation SATSE Jorge Andrada signed a biletaral agreement for the benefit of mobile workers in the health sector, such as Spanish nurses who go to Germany in order to work.

The agreement, which has been elaborated in the framework of the CESI Trade Council health services and is patronised by CESI, is supposed to offer mobile workers in the sector a first aid  in case they need support in the country they are moving to and working.

CESI president Wolff and its Secretary General Klaus Heeger congratualed their two member organisations, seeing their cooperation as exemplary for European trade union solidarity.