Speech by Prime Minister Antti Rinne at the Tripartite Social Summit in Brussels on 16 October 2019

Government Communications Department 16.10.2019 16.02
Speech 538/2019

Progressing on the social and economic dimensions for a competitive, fair and sustainable Europe: The role of social partners and social dialogue.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Promoting a competitive, fair and sustainable Europe, and especially the role of social partners, is very close to my heart. The slogan for our Presidency neatly states the goal: Sustainable Europe - Sustainable Future. We have set a goal to make the EU world’s most competitive, socially fair, low-carbon economy.

We, in Europe, are working to solve some of world’s major challenges. Firstly, climate change requires rapid action on a global scale. It is the responsibility of the EU, together with other major economies to take the leading role in the transition to sustainable and climate neutral economy. Secondly, fast technological development is changing our lives, for example through digitalisation, automation and artificial intelligence. Thirdly, global economic competition is fierce and requires the EU to step forward as a strong global actor. Therefore, we urgently need to move towards socially and environmentally sustainable economy.

In other words, to respond to global challenges, we, the European decision-makers, need to set an ambitious policy agenda for growth that is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable. In order to achieve this goal we also need actions from our companies. We should find ways to encourage them to act responsibly.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The single market cannot function without its central principles: free movement of persons, goods, services and capital. The single market, rules-based free trade and up-to-date regulation of a high standard are the elements that make the EU collectively competitive. This needs to be combined with a modern approach to the industrial policy

The Union now needs a positive and comprehensive long-term agenda for sustainable growth. Our emphasis must be on taking full advantage of research, development, innovation and digitalisation. An active industrial policy and development of the service sector and the digital economy will help lay the foundation for a new economy fit for the modern age.

On our way there, we must not forget that wellbeing and economic policies go hand in hand. The EU works best when we increase people’s wellbeing and security and reduce inequality.

EU’s common values and Rule of Law are the foundation for the Union. Therefore, we have been promoting the Rule of Law consistently during our Presidency. 

The social dimension is a key area for the EU. An up-to-date minimum regulation of social rights and working life, together with more effective implementation, is vital for the EU.

The single market, which is at the core of the EU, should treat all workers fairly. Full implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights is needed.

We believe that the Economy of Wellbeing is the next step in building more socially sustainable and fair future for Europe. Wellbeing policies can boost productivity, generate economic growth, as well as support economic and social sustainability.

How can we create conditions for sustainable growth? I think we must invest in skills, education and training and promote gender equality. Regional and social fairness must also be taken into account. These are also among the priorities of our Presidency.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Social dialogue is an important tool in stimulating sustainable growth and wellbeing. We should promote social dialogue at all levels. Many workplaces face rapid changes today and have to adapt to new form of work. Therefore workplace level social dialogue is increasingly important.

I would like to thank you for your attention. I’m looking forward to a fruitful discussion today.