The inauguration meeting of the formalised Social Partner Dialogue in the European Chemical Industry was held on December 14th 2004 in Brussels, Belgium. The Social Partners of the Industry, European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers Federation (EMCEF) and European Chemical Employers Group (ECEG) had announced their willingness to enter into this new quality of dialogue at the occasion of their annual Social Partner Conference which was hold on September 10th this year in Helsinki, Finland.Following their application to the European Commission in October the new Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimír Spidla, confirmed and welcomed the establishment of the Dialogue Committee.
EMCEF General Secretary Reinhard Reibsch and ECEG President Hans Paul Frey addressed the first meeting of the Committee tin Brussels. They expressed their intention to use the formalised dialogue in the interest of both the chemical industry and its work force to create initiatives for the European chemical sector. ECEG and EMCEF offered their knowledge of the industry and their support to the EU Commission. Both Social Partner Organisations are prepared to contribute to the implementation of the Lisbon strategy, which is to transform Europe into the most dynamic knowledge-based economic area world-wide.
At the inauguration meeting they called for a focus on growth and employment in Europe in the years to come. On behalf of the EU Commission Odile Quintin, Director General of DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Patrick Hennessy, Director Environmental Aspects of Enterprise Policy, Resource-Based and Specific Industries in the DG Enterprise and Industry took the floor and warmly welcomed the step of the Chemical Industry towards formalised Dialogue.
The European chemical industry employs about 2 million people and is the second largest industrial sector in Europe. It ranks first by size among chemical industries in the world. It will be one of the first big traditional European industrial sectors to start a formalised Social Partner Dialogue on European level acknowledged by the European Commission.