On the 9 and 10 December 2021, the 16th PES Network Board meeting took place under the host of the Slovenian Presidency for an online meeting. The agenda of the 2 days meeting was fully packed with exciting topics. In accordance with the Presidency’s slogan ‘Together. Resilient. Europe.’ the PES Board meeting was dedicated to the recovery strategies for the European labour markets, tackling pressing challenges whilst leaving no one behind.
Following a welcome by Janez Cigler Kralj, Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, the Commission provided an update on the current situation on the European labour markets and an economic outlook for 2022. Based on an upcoming PES Network study the Board reflected on the long-term experience with the pandemic and on the impact of the PES crisis measures, pointing that emerging imbalances will need to be met via, among others, re- and upskilling.
This introduced a discussion on how PES are dealing with labour mobility and labour market shortages, including via forecasting, partnerships with employers and EURES. The Executive Director of the European Labour Authority (ELA), Cosmin Boiangiu, updated the Board on the latest initiatives of ELA. Day 1 ended with the election of the First Vice -Chair of the PES Network. The Board unanimously extended the mandate of Spiros Protopsaltis (Governor of OAED, the Greek PES ) as First Vice Chair for a two years term. Congratulations!
Day 2 started with a discussion on Benchlearning (whereby the Board decided to continue with virtual assessments in 2022 and endorsed the revised Benchlearning Manual) and an overview of the Slovenian labour market. Since this is a priority of the Presidency, the Board further exchanged on the COVID recovery from an employment gaps perspective, with a market place under the heading ‘leave no one behind’ addressing four employment gaps related to disability, age, gender and skills.
The Board then exchanged on a topic of growing concern, how PES can tackle security challenges. Recent tragic events put concern over PES staff security since frontline staff is more than ever exposed to security risks. The Board also approved the Annual Report 2021, Work Programme 2022 as well as the PES Network Position Paper on Greening of the Labour markets.
We thank our Slovene colleagues for the organisation of this 16th Board meeting. We are looking forward to seeing you at the next Board meeting in June in France!