Mr. SILVA, Director EMPL/B

Closing Remarks

7th EU-US Joint Conference on Occupational Safety
and Health

Brussels, 13 July 2012

Assistant Secretary, Dr. Michaels, Distinguished Colleagues Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are at the end of an important event. I think that we can all agree on the fact that this 7th EU-US Joint Conference on OSH has allowed us to move our process of cooperation forward - not only for the remarkable results of our three-day discussion, but first all for the genuine interest, the openness, and the constructive spirit showed by all participants from both sides.

We have made tangible progress on the subject matters which were on the agenda – nanomaterials, chemical substances, green jobs, catastrophic accidents;

We have initiated an important discussion on OSH statistics and identified concrete developments to consolidate this new front of collaboration.

And we intend to continue in the direction of an intensified cooperation in the future.

In order to ensure that our discussions have a practical, visible impact upon our organizations we commit ourselves to organize the publication of all papers and conclusions of the Conference in a dedicated network in addition to the information for the general public.

This conference has confirmed that – despite all differences – we do share a common vision: a safer and healthier workplace conducive to more sustainable and competitive economy and better quality of life our fellow citizens in the EU and US alike.

This common vision has resulted in a long-standing cooperation whose outcomes are quite visible today:

Seven joint conferences organised so far have set up the platform for a very fruitful exchange of views on several OSH-related issues;

We have consolidated our tripartite approach with its inspirational principle of dialogue between governments, unions and business.

We have been successful in improving our capacity of communication by learning from each other about new valuable practical insights on how workers' safety and health can be improved.

Looking to the future, we should build on the progress achieved so far, well aware of the difficulties that we are experiencing in a time of budgetary resources limitation and economic austerity.

As announced at the beginning of this conference, the EU is preparing a new OSH strategy for the period 2013-2020.

It is clear that we are very interested in sharing with our US colleagues and friends the results of this new political initiative, possibly in the framework of a new joint event in 2014.

The EU looks forward to this as a new opportunity for partnership and cooperation.

Let me conclude by stressing once again my great appreciation for the successful way this conference has been conducted and organized and for its remarkable results.

Many thanks to all the participants.

First of all to Dr Michaels for his strong leadership and high level participation and to all the US delegation for a very fruitful debate during the conference.

Secondly, to those responsible - Chair, co-chairs and scribes - of the four main working groups, and to the colleagues from the EU and US statistical offices for their fundamental contribution to yesterday's discussion on OSH accidents and injuries reporting.

And last but not least, special thanks to all interpreters, staff and a special word for the US secretariat headed by Mrs De Mesme-Gray for the valuable cooperation in making this conference a success.

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you.