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December 7, 2019
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EP's committee on social issues to be led by Slovak MEP Ďuriš Nicholsonová, Czech MEP Zdechovský is a vice-chair

22.7.2019 8:44
Slovak MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (left) and Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský (right). (2019)  (Collage: Romea.cz)
Slovak MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová (left) and Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský (right). (2019) (Collage: Romea.cz)

The important European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) will be led by Slovak MEP Lucia Ďuriš Nicholsonová. She received 38 votes on 18 July in a secret ballot.

The ECR Conservative Faction, which has the right to occupy the Committee chair, nominated Nicholsonová to the post after the Committee twice refused to elect former Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo to head it. Czech MEP Tomáš Zdechovský was subsequently elected a vice-chair.

"Now I have to cancel my holiday with my husband, and that's not easy for me. So thanks for doing this to me," a smiling Nicholsonová said to her colleagues on the Committee after having learned about her ECR nomination just that morning.

She then reintroduced herself to her colleagues and reminded them that, for example, she worked as a State Secretary at the Slovak Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Family between 2010 and 2012, where she dealt with employment issues and focused on disadvantaged groups, including socially excluded people in Romani communities. As for Zdechovský, speaking to journalists after being elected he said the aim of his work on the committee would not be to introduce further regulation, or quotas, or a single unified minimum wage.

"I will actively combat such proposals. On the contrary, I intend to promote the most effective use of funds from the European Social Fund and to look for and solve various gaps in legislation overall so that the problems of Czechs living abroad, and not just them, can be eliminated," he said.

In the past, Zdechovský has supported ROMEA's Romani Scholarship Program, the Roma Week in Brussels, and the recent demonstration by Roma from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Britain, France, Belgium and other countries before the European Parliament. As for the former Polish Prime Minister, she was repeatedly rejected because of her membership in the governing Law and Justice (PiS) party in Poland, receiving comments from her peers about the problems Warsaw is now having in the EU with upholding the rule of law.

With around 110 members, the EMPL Committee is among the largest and most important committees in the European Parliament. It is responsible for employment and social policy, labor rights, health and safety at work, vocational training, free movement of workers, social dialogue, discrimination in the workplace, etc.

bau, ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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Brusel, European Parliament, Politics, social exclusion



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