On 17 October 2023, Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne delivered a speech on the plans of the upcoming Belgian EU Presidency, raising hopes that it will set the bar high in the social dimension.
He said the Belgian Presidency will stress that “social dialogue has a central role to play” and take seriously the rising inequality across society.
Dermagne raised public procurement as a key point: “[public procurement] is indeed a lever for strengthening the greening of our economy, but also for better ensuring respect for social rights. The quest for the lowest prices must not be the only criterion taken into account by the public authorities.” And he underlined that this was a major concern when the directive on adequate minimum wages was drawn up.
He also underlined that the adoption of the EU Directive on the minimum wage and its aim for 80% collective bargaining coverage in each EU member state “is historic”. He is convinced that its transposition will have a “positive knock-on effect” on wages and the development of collective bargaining.
Moreover, the future presidency will organise the tripartite social summits, stating that “we want close collaboration with the social partners” and that he hopes for “concrete proposals”.
Find the full speech below.