Commenting on the outcome of the European Council, ETUC General Secretary Esther Lynch said:

“It is good news that the far-right have been frozen out of the decision on the EU’s top jobs. Cooperation with far-right forces in the European Parliament must also be rejected.

“However, the best defence against the far-right is to ensure that every job in Europe is a top job: quality jobs with fair pay and conditions and collective bargaining in every sector and every region.

“Evidence shows that people who are dissatisfied with their pay and working conditions, and have little say over their job, are more likely to be vulnerable to far-right messages. 

“The EU’s new leadership must make it a priority to protect and create quality jobs, improve working conditions and give workers a real say over their future. 

“The key is to promote collective bargaining, which is the best way to fair pay and conditions, as well as to strengthen democracy at work. 

“It is also necessary to secure a permanent investment tool at EU level to support industrial policy and a just transition to a green and digital economy for all sectors and regions, delivering quality jobs and social progress, instead of returning to austerity.

“Workers’ rights and social standards must be protected and reinforced, not subject to deregulation attacks.

“We call on candidate for President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to include the priorities outlined in the ETUC Manifesto for a Fair Deal for Workers in the priorities for the Commission work programme for the next five years.

 “We congratulate Antonio Costa on his election as President of the European Council. We call on him to continue to work with trade unions to deliver social progress and to advance towards the full implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

”Ultimately it is policies rather than personalities that will decide whether Europe continues to command the support of working people.”

Judith Kirton Darling, industriAll Europe's general secretary added: 

"Years of economic austerity, attacks on good quality jobs, and ever-growing inequalities have damaged people across Europe and undermined trust in politicians.

"It’s important that the far right have been frozen out of EU decision making on top jobs. However it’s not clear yet that EU leaders have recognised a very basic fact: there is no national solution to the transnational problems we face economically, socially, geopolitically or environmentally. 

"We need European solutions! To do that, we need a social, fair and future-proofed Europe which delivers concrete solutions, good industrial jobs and investment for EU citizens, wherever they live”