Green and decent work: EMF presents position to Chinese government
On 28-29 October 2010, the EMF took part in a bilateral expert meeting between DG Employment and Social Affairs and the Chinese Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MoHRSS) on employment policy challenges of moving towards a low-carbon economy. The seminar came in the wake of intensifying relations over the past 5 years between the Commission's employment and social affairs team and the Chinese authorities, and a joint publication on 'New Skills for New Jobs in the EU and China'.
The Chinese government is currently preparing its 12th 5-year plan, which among other things, focuses on greening industry and promoting strategic industries, such as automotive and clean energy.
The 5-year plan (Zhōngguó Wǔnián Jìhuà) is prepared by the National Development and Reform Commission, which is China's top economic planning body. The plans are initiated by the Chinese Communist Party and have played an important role in the economic progress of the country. Since this type of planning is typical for a planned economy, Deng Xiaoping actually changed the name to 'guideline', when he initiated China's socialist market economy and Open Door policy in 1978, but the term plan has stuck. The plan itself guides, not only the country from a macro economic perspective, but also provides targets and reforms on a provincial level. It is clear that focus of the Chinese government has turned to promoting the transformation of the country's heavy industries and the promotion of emerging industries, making the social management of the change a key concern.
This is also a concern in European policy circles, with the Commission increasingly focused on promoting green jobs. For the (EMF), climate change is a dangerous reality, which demands a social response at international as well as European, national and regional/local and company levels. The EMF believes that a drive towards new industrial strategies based on low carbon technologies and products can offer opportunities but also challenges for the future of industrial workplaces in Europe, especially in the context of the worst recession for 80 years and an older and broader energy and raw materials crisis. During the meeting, the EMF was able to present the concerns and demands of European manufacturing workers to both the EU and Chinese authorities.