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Skills, skills, skills!

Skills for people, skills for competitiveness,

skills for sustainability.

Wednesday 20 September 2023, 10.00-13.00 (CEST)
Brussels, European Parliament/Spinelli 1E2, Brussels, Belgium


In the European Year of Skills, Cedefop, Eurofound, EU-OSHA, the ETF and ELA in partnership with the European Parliament and the European Commission / DG EMPL came together to share their insights on current and future skills needs.

5 Agencies event visual

Skills and ‘the right to quality and inclusive education, training and life-long learning’ is principle number 1 of the European Pillar of Social Rights. But what skills are needed now, what are the gaps, where are the shortages, and what will be needed tomorrow? What initiatives can be successful in anticipating future skills needs?

During the European Year of Skills, on 20 September 2023 five EU agencies under the remit of DG Employment and Social Affairs (Cedefop, Eurofound, EU-OSHA, the ETF and ELA) shared their complementary labour market and skills intelligence. Together with Members of the European Parliament and the European Commission they discussed with key stakeholders the challenges and opportunities involved in tackling labour and skills shortages.

Please find below a recording of the event and discover the latest findings on current and future skills needs, and the implications for working conditions and safety and health. You can also download a written summary of the event here.

The presentation and debate were held in English. Participation was by invitation only. 

For any clarification you may require, please contact:

You may access the Data Protection Notice here



Programme in PDF

The event will be facilitated by Clara Drammeh, Mixed Message Moderation


Indicated times are CEST

09:30-10:00 | Welcome coffee and registration

10:00-10:15 | Setting the scene: the transformative power of skills for Europe’s future 

  • MEP Dragoș Pîslaru, Chair of the EMPL Committee, European Parliament
  • Joost Korte, Director-General, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission

10:15-11:00 | Skills for people, competitiveness, sustainability: a vision for the future 

Directors of the five Agencies

  • Labour matching - Cosmin Boiangiu, Executive Director, ELA
  • Education and training in regard to health and safety - William Cockburn, Interim Executive Director, EU-OSHA
  • Labour shortage beyond skills – Ivailo Kalfin, Executive Director, Eurofound
  • Trends and future and existing programmes – Jürgen Siebel, Executive Director, Cedefop
  • EU Global approach to skills and education – Pilvi Torsti, Director, ETF

Q&A with MEPs & stakeholders (15 min)

11:00-11:10 | Short break

11:10-11:55 | Getting the right balance: skills the EU needs to meet the demands of the labour market in a green and digital transition
Expert discussion with the Agencies

  • Irene Mandl, Head of Unit, ELA
  • Ilias Livanos, Expert, Cedefop
  • Tina Weber, Research Manager, Eurofound

Q&A with MEP Sara Matthieu (Greens/European Free Alliance) and other stakeholders

11:55-12:30 | Getting the right balance: challenges and opportunities to ensure the future is fair, just, healthy and safe for the EU and beyond
Expert discussion with the Agencies

  • Eduarda Castel Branco, Senior expert, ETF
  • Elke Schneider, Senior OSH and Policy Specialist, EU-OSHA

Q&A with MEP Agnes Jongerius and MEP João Albuquerque (Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats) and other stakeholders

12:30-12:40 | Closing remarks

  • Denis Genton, Director European Pillar of Social Rights, Strategy (EMPL.A), DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission
  • MEP Dragoş Pîslaru, Chair of EMPL Committee, European Parliament

12.40-13.30 | Light networking lunch 


Publications and useful links



Speaker list in PDF

  • Dragoș Pîslaru – MEP, Chair of the EMPL Committee. Dragoș Pîslaru is a Romanian economist and former Labour and Social Affairs Minister in the 2016 government. He is a member of the European Parliament since 2019 on behalf of REPER, affiliated to the European political family Renew Europe and Chair of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs. He was the co-rapporteur of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the largest financial instrument created by the European Union for the economic recovery of the Union after the pandemic and pushed for the creation of the social and children & youth pillars of the RRF. As Chair of the EMPL Committee, Mr Pîslaru has spearheaded efforts to address pressing social and employment challenges facing the European Union. His leadership has been instrumental in fostering dialogue among MEPs, policymakers, and stakeholders to develop policies that prioritize children and youth, skills development, job creation and social inclusion. Dragoș has been a strong supporter of the Child Guarantee and he is leading the Working Group on monitoring the implementation of Children Guarantee of the Parliament, a new permanent entity of the European Parliament. He has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to championing the interests of youth and working towards a brighter future for the next generation, influencing EU legislation and the European Year of Youth in 2022. Dragoș holds an MSc in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a PhD in Economics from the National Institute of Economic Research, within the Romanian Academy. Mr Pîslaru has been named the second most influential MEP on social policies (EU Matrix, 2023) and the most influential MEP on economic policies (, 2020).

  • Joost Korte – Director-General in DG EMPL, European Commission. Joost Korte was appointed Director-General of Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion on the 16 March 2018. Previously, the Dutch national served as Deputy Director-General in the European Commission’s Trade Department, in the Agriculture and Rural Development Department as well as in the Enlargement Department. Furthermore, Mr. Korte spent several years in the Commission’s Secretariat General as Director responsible for the relations with the Council of Ministers and gained extensive experience in the Private offices of Sir Leon Brittan, Chris Patten and Danuta Hübner. These professional experiences within the European institutions allowed him to develop a profound understanding of EU decision-making. A lawyer by training, Joost Korte joined the Commission in 1991, following eight years of academic work on European law at the Universities of Utrecht and Edinburgh.

  • Cosmin Boiangiu – ELA Executive Director. Ambassador Cosmin Boiangiu is the Executive Director of the European Labour Authority. He is a career diplomat who joined the Romanian Foreign Affairs ministry in 1996, with expertise in EU affairs and multilateral diplomacy, security and strategic policies, development, NATO and United Nations. Between April 2016 – December 2020, ambassador Boiangiu served as Deputy Permanent Representative of Romania to the European Union and Representative to the Committee of Permanent Representatives I (COREPER I). He presided COREPER I during Romania’s presidency of the Council of the European Union (2019) and coordinated on Council’s behalf the negotiations for the conclusion and adoption of an unprecedented 48 EU’s legislative acts. In 2012 - 2016 Cosmin Boiangiu was Ambassador of Romania to the Republic of Slovenia. From 2008 to 2012, Cosmin Boiangiu served as Director of United Nations, Specialized Institutions and Francophone Affairs within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2008 he was Spokesperson and Director for Information and Press of the Romanian Foreign Ministry. Previously he represented Romania at the United Nations - Security Council and at NATO. Cosmin Boiangiu is university licenced in International Economic Relations (Bucharest University of Economic Sciences, 1996), has a Master in Public Management (Bucharest University of Economic Sciences, 2006) and a PhD in Economics of climate change (Bucharest University of Economic Sciences, 2019).

  • William Cockburn Salazar – Interim Executive Director European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). William Cockburn Salazar has worked at EU-OSHA since 1998 where he focused on the areas of research coordination, emerging risks and was responsible for the first European Survey of Enterprises on New and Emerging Risks (ESENER). In charge since 2012 of the EU-OSHA’s Prevention and Research Unit, which develops the OSH content for the agency, he is currently the Agency’s Interim Executive Director.  William trained first as a lawyer and then as an ergonomist. Prior to joining EU-OSHA, he worked in academic research investigating company safety culture and in the private sector as an ergonomics consultant and research manager for projects in health and safety at work. William has a Bachelor’s degree in Law and Master of Science degree in ergonomics.

  • Ivailo Kalfin – Executive Director, Eurofound. Ivailo Kalfin was appointed Executive Director of Eurofound in 2021. Before taking up this post, he was Director of the Economics and International Relations Institute in Sofia. He has served as Bulgaria's Deputy Prime Minister on two occasions, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Labour and Social Policy. He was also a Member of the European Parliament (2009-14), a member of the high-level Monti group (2014-2017) and senior adviser on budget at the European Commission (2017-2019). Earlier in his career, he was a member of the Advisory Board of the Bulgarian National Bank and Economic Policy Secretary to the President of Bulgaria. Mr Kalfin holds MSc degrees in international economic relations and international banking from the University of National and World Economy in Sofia and Loughborough University, UK, respectively. He has honorary doctorates from Loughborough University and the University of Ruse, Bulgaria.

  • Jürgen Siebel – Executive Director, Cedefop. Jürgen Siebel has been Cedefop’s Executive Director since 2019. Out of Thessaloniki, Cedefop supports the development of European Union vocational education and training (VET), skills and qualifications policies, and contributes to their implementation. As Executive Director, Jürgen is responsible for managing the Agency’s operations in accordance with the strategic direction of its tripartite Management Board. Before joining Cedefop, Jürgen worked for more than 20 years in the private sector, mostly as a senior HR manager with global responsibilities at Siemens. Jürgen earned his MSc in Economics at the University of Hamburg and holds a PhD in Business Administration from the University of Vienna.

  • Pilvi Torsti – Director, ETF. Dr. Pilvi Torsti, is the Director of the European Training Foundation. She served as a State Secretary in three ministries in Finland: the Ministry of Education and Culture 2013-2015 and Ministry of Employment and Economic Affairs & Ministry of Transport and Communications 2019-2023. From 2017 to 2019, Pilvi Torsti was an MP and a member of the education and future committees of the Finnish parliament. She holds a PhD in social sciences from the University of Helsinki, and is also the co-founder of United World College in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Also, she founded HEI Schools, an education company co-owned by the University of Helsinki where she has been an adjunct professor since 2012 and was nominated as the adjunct professor of the year in 2020. Pilvi is UWC graduate (1995) and Eisenhower Fellow (2013). She is married with three children.

  • Irene Mandl – Head of Unit, ELA. Irene Mandl joined ELA in September 2021 as the Head of Information and EURES Unit. She holds Master’s degrees in international business administration (with specialisation in marketing and organisational planning) and in business and law (with specialisation in HR management). Before joining ELA she worked in policy-oriented socioeconomic research in the fields of employment and labour market, as well as entrepreneurship and industry analysis. Most recently, she was Head of the research unit ‘Employment’ at the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions where she was leading the cross-European research on labour market developments (including new forms of work and employment and the future of work, digitalisation, climate change, restructuring and related public policy approaches) and topics at the intersection of employment and entrepreneurship (such as job creation, workplace practices, small and medium-sized enterprises, business start-ups and scale-ups and internationalisation, including HR management in international businesses).

  • Ilias Livanos – Expert, Cedefop. Working in the Department for VET and skills, Ilias heads two flagship Cedefop projects; the Skills forecast and the European skills index. He has been involved in various other Cedefop projects in the past, including the Mismatch priority occupations, and the Skills panorama. Ilias is an economist by training, with a master’s degree in Industrial Relations and a PhD in employment research, both from the University of Warwick. Ilias worked in the UK academia for about a decade before joining Cedefop, teaching and conducting research in education, skills and the labour market. His expertise is in labour economics, education economics, and industrial relations. Ilias blends quantitative and qualitative techniques and skills while he specialises in using large scale datasets, such as the European labour force survey. Ilias has published articles in various top-ranking journals including Industrial Relations: a Journal of Economy and Society, Regional Studies, Industrial and Economic Democracy, Journal of Economic Studies, Education Economics, Applied Economics Letters, Higher Education, the International Journal of Manpower, Personnel Review, and the Journal of Labour Research.

  • Tina Weber – Research manager, Eurofound. Tina is a research manager sharing her time between the Employment and Working Life units at Eurofound since March 2019. Her research focuses on labour market change (including as a result of digitalisation), restructuring, industrial relations and working conditions. Her work mainly involves monitoring and assessing the impact of and policy approaches to the flexibilisation of the labour market and the impact of the increasing trend towards teleworking and associated issues of work–life balance as well as connection and disconnection. She was responsible for mapping and analysing measures to address the impact of COVID-19 on businesses, workers and citizens. Her research also focuses on addressing labour shortages in EU labour markets including in the context of the twin transitions. Tina holds a PhD in Political Sciences from the University of Edinburgh.

  • Eduarda Castel Branco – Senior expert, ETF. Senior expert in qualifications systems, and labor market information. Long standing professional experience in the context of international cooperation, working with GIZ, European Commission and European Training Foundation. Countries and regions: Central and Eastern Europe (Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, North Macedonia, Serbia); Central Asia; African Union and its institutions; African countries and regions (esp. Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Cape Verde, Sierra Leone, Angola, Mozambique, Cameroon, South Africa, Eswatini, Mauritius, SADC, IGAD, EAC, ECOWAS); America (Brazil).

    • Expert and coordination role in development of the Compendium of five Guides on Labour Market Information methods (ILO-ETF-CEDEFOP).
    • Expert and coordinator of ETF project Big Data for Labour Market Intelligence. Countries: Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia, Kenya and Egypt. Analysis, capacity development, innovation.
    • Member and contributor:

    • European Qualifications Framework Advisory Group and expert of several project groups, esp. on EQF Comparison with national and regional qualifications frameworks in Africa
    • ESCO (European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations): EU Member States Working Group; active expert contributor to ESCO projects, such as Linking learning outcomes of qualifications to ESCO.
    • Development of regional qualifications frameworks: Africa (IGAD, SADC); America (Pacific Alliance)
    • Key expert and coordinator of the Project “African Continental Qualifications Framework” (2 successive phases, 2019-2026). Author of ACQF mapping study reports, Guidelines and Training Modules, Policy Document. Over 20 training programmes and conferences.


  • Elke Schneider – Senior OSH and Policy Specialist, Directorate, European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA). Elke Schneider has worked at EU-OSHA since 2002, coordinating activities on various topics including work-related diseases, OSH statistics, biological agents and chemicals, and representing the agency in many working groups and committees since then.  She was involved in setting up the Agency’s European Risk Observatory and in charge of the ‘Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in figures’ project. Before joining EU-OSHA, Elke Schneider worked for more than ten years as Deputy Head of Unit for European and international affairs and as occupational hygiene expert at the Austrian Labour Inspection — within the Federal Ministry of Labour and Economy. She holds a degree in Chemical engineering and biochemistry, is doctor of technical science from the University of Technology, Vienna, Austria.

  • Denis Genton - Director European Pillar of Social Rights, Strategy (EMPL.A), DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, European Commission. Mr. Genton joined DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion (DG EMPL) in 2013. Today, he is the Director of the Directorate “European Pillar of Social Rights, Strategy”. This directorate is responsible for the management of DG EMPL public affairs and relations as well as resources, including IT. Previously in DG EMPL, he was the Head of the Free movement network Unit. This included, among other things, the supervision of the implementation by the Member States of the European rules applicable to labour mobility. He was also part of the team negotiating the establishment of the European Labour Authority. He was also the head of the unit supervising the implementation of the European Social Fund & the semester exercise in Italy, Sweden and Denmark. Previously in the Commission, he was a Member of the Cabinet of Mr Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. From 2004 to 2009, he was a Member of the Cabinet of Mr. Šemeta and Ms. Grybauskaité, EU Commissioners for Budget and Financial Programming. Earlier Denis had been working for the Secretariat General, and DG Education and Culture and DG Budget. He joined the Commission in 1994 as a civil servant. He earned his degrees in Political Science at the University of Strasbourg and at the College of Europe in Bruges, and his degree in European Law in Nancy. Mr Genton speaks French, English, German and Italian.

  • Clara Drammeh – Moderator, Mixed Message Moderation. As a dedicated scout and youth advocate, Clara is experienced with facilitation in civil society and political contexts. For some time now, she has been working as a freelance trainer and facilitator as founder of Mixed Message Moderation. Being a young black woman, she advocates for more diversity on stages, a culturally sensitive approach and inclusive language, as well as interactive, participatory events and trainings both face-to-face and online. Through her international relations studies and her work as a former youth policy officer, she strives to help build bridges between young people and political decision-makers.


About the Agencies

Cedefop was founded in 1975 and is based in Greece since 1995. Cedefop supports the promotion, development and implementation of the Union policy in the field of vocational education and training (VET) as well as skills and qualifications policies by working together with the Commission, Member States and social partners. To this end, it enhances and disseminates knowledge, provides evidence and services for policy-making, including research-based conclusions, and facilitates knowledge sharing among and between EU and national actors.


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Eurofound is a tripartite European Union Agency based in Dublin, whose role is to provide knowledge to assist in the development of better social, employment and work-related policies. Eurofound provides information, advice and expertise on working conditions and sustainable work, industrial relations, labour market change and quality and life and public services, to support the EU Institutions and bodies, Member States and Social Partners in shaping and implementing social and employment policies, as well as promoting social dialogue on the basis of comparative information, research and analysis.

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EU-OSHA is the European Union information agency for occupational safety and health and is based in Bilbao. The agency’s work contributes to the European Commission’s Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2021-2027 and other relevant EU strategies and programmes. EU-OSHA works to make European workplaces safer, healthier and more productive — for the benefit of businesses, employees and governments and promotes a culture of risk prevention to improve working conditions in Europe.

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The European Training Foundation is a European Union agency, based in Turin, Italy and operational since 1994, that helps transition and developing countries harness the potential of their human capital through the reform of education, training and labour market systems, and in the context of the EU's external relations policy.

The European Labour Authority (ELA) was established in July 2019 and has been created to help strengthen fairness and trust in the internal market by assisting Member States and the European Commission to ensure that EU rules on labour mobility and social security coordination are enforced in a fair, simple and effective way. ELA also has an important role to play in facilitating and ensuring effective labour mobility in Europe, in particular by activities of the European Employment Services (EURES).

The European Year of Skills aims to address skills gaps in the European Union and boost the EU skills strategy, which will help reskill people with the focus on digital and green technology skills. This will require helping people get the right skills for quality jobs and helping companies, in particular small and medium enterprises by highlighting national efforts as well as -existing and new EU initiatives and EU funding possibilities. It will support skills-related activities and events across Europe.  



Related documents

Skills, skills, skills! Summary report

English (1.68 MB - PDF)