State of the Union Speech: Building the future through social partnership

During her State of the Union Speech, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed that social partners must again be at the heart of our future. CEC European Managers welcomes the President’s call for constructive partnership and responsible leadership ahead of the European elections. To build a sustainable economy, create a clean tech industry made in Europe and deliver on social Europe, we need leaders that can bring people together around constructive visions for a better future.

Ursula von der Leyen rightly underlines that social partners must again be at the heart of our future. Whether achieving the EU’s sustainability objectives, improving working conditions or developing AI leadership: this is a unique opportunity and our responsibility to make social dialogue a key governance mechanism to build the future of Europe.” Maxime Legrand, President

The State of the Union speech 2023 of Commission President Ursula von der Leyen opened with a call to leaders to earn the trust of Europeans to deal with their aspirations and anxieties. This is a time for citizens, including managers, «to decide on what kind of future and what kind of Europe they want. » Geopolitics, climate emergencies, growing social inequalities, and economic turmoil marked the context of a speech that focused on highlighting the achievements of the von der Leyen Commission.

Within such a context, it is key to develop transformative leadership and inclusive partnerships that can translate constructive visions into reality – in workplaces, municipalities, regions, and the EU as a whole. CEC therefore welcomes the President’s call for placing social partnership at the heart of EU decision-making. A tripartite dialogue is needed to explore how a more inclusive and innovative social partnership across policymaking levels could be designed to be fit for future challenges.

Key priorities of the current Commission included the EU Green Deal as the “new growth strategy for Europe”, a stronger geopolitical orientation, as well as efforts to promote the digitalisation of the European industry. From a leadership perspective, the current Commission has been able to set the right direction to make the EU economy fit for the future. Challenges remain however in many areas, arguing for improved governance. A more complex world requires greater adaptability..

With growing divisions within and between Member States, it becomes ever more crucial to take citizens, businesses, workers, and managers on board. To ensure leaders can deliver on the EU’s political priorities, CEC highlights the importance of involving managers in (social) dialogue and governance processes. Courageous and exemplary leadership is a key determinant to translate ambition into reality.