At the annual Summer Reception of the Danish Trade Union Office in Brussels. The Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, addressed the audience and gave an enthusiastic speech.

A google search for Margrethe Vestager shows a long list of articles about the huge fines she has dished out to tech giants, banks and car parts manufacturers. However, employment is also quite high on the list of objectives for the Commissioner for Competition.

After the reception, the Danish Commissioner gave the following interview to the newsletter

– I don?t think as much about preserving workplaces as I do about the companies that want to contribute to the dynamics and economic growth that generate workplaces. Competition is what drives forward new ideas and which motivates companies to go that extra mile to reach their customers.

Employee representatives in SME?s play an important role

-Competition ensures that it isn?t just huge corporations that have the opportunity to reach new customers. But small- and medium-sized companies also have a fighting chance of using the single market to run a better business and thereby create more workplaces.

And it is particularly the small- and medium-sized companies that she places emphasis on in her work. -They are the ones that pay taxes, create workplaces and take in young workers giving them apprenticeships.

The European economy and business-life would look entirely different if not for this type of companies and the strong role they play. And another characteristic of this type of companies is that employee representatives also play a strong role in them, says the Commissioner.

 Competition cannot stand alone: we need good welfare systems

– The trade union movement is a fundamental partner in our European democracy. Both formally in different councils and during the consultation process with input and ideas, but also informally with the role it plays in a Danish context.

-The Danish model ensures that assets are not only accumulated with the few, but that the ones who contribute to them will also get their share, says Margrethe Vestager.  And this does not only apply at the workplace.  The overall efforts of the trade union movement to ensure a good welfare system are, according to Vestager, in keeping with a European tradition.

– It is extremely important that competition does not stand alone but that it is also used to build welfare systems, ensure unemployment benefits and invest in new jobs in the industries where companies have relocated or jobs have been automated.

It is a good, European tradition and a balance that we try to strike so that we ensure both competition and dynamics while also ensuring that no one is left behind, she says while also commending the trade union movement for its work and its support for the EU.

The trade union movement has contributed to making Danes more EU-positive

– When we conclude modern trade agreements, the trade union movement is good at pointing to what it means to Danish companies and Danish workplaces.

And this is where I think that the trade union movement has a very important role to play.

I believe that the trade union movement plays an important role in ensuring that Danes are so relatively positive towards the EU and fond of the Danish democracy.