As a result of the financial and economic crises, László Andor, Hungary’s commissioner-designate for employment and social affairs, expects to become a heavyweight in the Barroso II executive. EURACTIV Hungary reports.
“Employment and social issues will be key areas of EU policy, both in the short and long term,” Andor declared in a recent hearing before the Hungarian parliament.
The crisis is not over yet and tackling the Europe’s record-unemployment will be a crucial part of his future job, Andor admitted, adding that he is gathering information, standpoints and proposals in a bid to boost his portfolio’s profile within the European Commission.
As the financial turmoil was followed by a social crisis, mitigating its effects will be a challenging task for the future holder of the employment and social affairs portfolio.
Andor wants to take up the job as soon as possible and place crisis management on the top of the EU agenda, he reportedly said. The Hungarian commissioner-designate, who has served on the board of directors of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), is not well-known even in Hungary, despite his strong ties to his country’s socialist party. That association, however, combined with his role as editor-in-chief of leftist magazine Eszmélet, earned him the nickname ‘communist banker’.
“Andor did not seem a communist,” Hungarian daily Figyel? wrote after his hearing with the Hungarian parliament’s European affairs committee.
Andor, an economist by profession, was quoted as saying that the EU’s social market economy has to regulate its market seriously and rigorously, and most importantly social partners have to be taken seriously and agreements with them fulfilled.
During his hearing, Andor did not go into much detail on his future job, but underlined the importance of developing the European Social Fund and stressed the crucial need to find solutions to long-debated labour market regulations and social policy issues.
The fact that Spain holds the rotating presidency of the EU and is currently run by the socialist government of José Louis Rodriguez Zapatero is a good sign for Andor given that the Hungarian hails from his country’s Socialist Party (MSZP), analysts told EURACTIV Hungary.
The major structural challenges facing Europe in the next decade will also give weight to the portfolio. With climate change triggering the push for a greener economy and as the EU-27’s population continues to age, creating a sustainable social and economic system will be a major challenge for the future commissioner.
French Socialist MEP Pervenche Berès, chairwoman of the European Parliament’s committee on employment and social affairs, also emphasised this in a recent interview.
“It is important to me that besides jobs, also natural resources and the energy issue are put on the table. The social responsibility of businesses is a topic too. We have to talk about how we can involve workers in this area,” she said.
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