Ploumen to G20 and Jordan for decent work for all

Foreign trade and development cooperation minister Lilianne Ploumen will be visiting Germany and Jordan over the next few days. Today she is in Bad Neuenahr for the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers Meeting, where the focus will be on making global value chains more sustainable. Ms Ploumen will be stressing the importance of decent work. ‘This means a safe working environment, a fair wage and the abolition of child labour,’ Ms Ploumen said. ‘It is important to keep making headway in these production processes. After all, this concerns 450 million jobs worldwide.’

Tomorrow Ms Ploumen will be flying on to Amman, Jordan, to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Middle East and North Africa. The main theme will be promoting trade and investment to boost employment in a region suffering the effects of the civil war in Syria. Ms Ploumen is calling for the EU to relax trade rules yet further for Jordanian companies in cases where at least 15% of the workforce is made up of Syrian refugees. One of the first success stories in this category is a company that makes products for the horticultural sector, which is now exporting to Spain and Cyprus.

Ms Ploumen will also be visiting a flower auction, where she will sign an agreement on a feasibility study on a new auction facility. The new facility would be equipped to keep flowers in good condition for longer, in turn boosting trade. ‘The flower industry in Jordan grew by a staggering 20% last year. So it offers good employment prospects for both the local labour force and Syrian refugees,’ Ms Ploumen explained. The agricultural sector is now the main employer of Syrians, providing work for 16,000 refugees.

In recent years the Netherlands has been strongly committed to economic growth and fair employment for a decent wage. One example is matchmaking Syrian refugees with Jordanians and local businesses. The Netherlands is also supporting education projects and efforts to strengthen host communities and improve reception in the region. The government has earmarked a total of 60 million euros for this in 2016 and 2017.