Hans-Joachim Wilms has been appointed new vice-president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), with particular responsibility for the budget. As president of the Budget Group secretariat, he will continue to push the message already expressed in a number of Committee opinions, namely that the ambitious challenges facing the EU make it vital to increase the size of its budget so as to revitalise economic growth and employment.
Hans-Joachim Wilms, who hails from Barmstedt in Germany, has been active in the trade union movement for more than forty years. His career began in the German Horticulture, Agriculture and Forestry Union (GGLF) where he was in turn organisational secretary, head of division in the central administration and vice-chair, before being elected fully-fledged chair in 1993. In January 1996, Mr Wilms became a member of the federal executive of the German Trade Union for Construction, Agriculture and the Environment (IG BAU), with board responsibility for European affairs. In 1999 and again in 2005, he was elected deputy federal president of the IG BAU, with board responsibility for finance and sustainable development. In September 2009, the focus of his work switched to Brussels when he became European affairs officer for the IG BAU federal board. He has been a member of the EESC Workers' Group since 1994, in which capacity he has acted as raporteur for over 20 opinions. From 2008 to 2010, he was president of the Section for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment and, from November 2010, headed up the EESC's Sustainable Development Observatory.