On 1 March, Oliver Röpke takes over as the new President of the Workers' Group at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), after being elected to the position by the group's members on 7 February. He replaces Gabriele Bischoff, who had been president of the group since October 2015.
During her mandate, Gabriele Bischoff fought for the development, declaration and implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, for an EU that protects and empowers its citizens and for an EU that delivers for the many, and not just for the few. She was and will be a firm supporter of the European project and firmly committed to defending Europe's fundamental values. Her next project: the 2019 European Parliament elections. As of now, Gabriele Bischoff will be standing for election to the future European Parliament.
With a view to current and future challenges for the European Union, its values in general and working people in particular, Oliver Röpke wants to promote the role of the Committee, and in particular that of the Workers' Group. He will work for a Europe that is closer to Europeans – a Europe that works to defend them and their interests. Mr Röpke will advocate fair living and working conditions and defend the workers' cause. He will consolidate the strength of the Workers' Group: the ability of its members to reach consensus to serve the common goal, despite their diverse trade union backgrounds.
Within the EESC, Oliver Röpke has occupied various functions since 2009, including as a member of the Bureau, and is currently a member of the Section for the Single Market and vice-president of the Section for Social Affairs.
For over 20 years Mr Röpke has been working for the Austrian Trade Union Confederation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund – ÖGB) and its member organisations in positions of responsibility, first at national level and later at Brussels level, and since 2008 as a member of the Federal Executive Committee of Austria. Since 2001, he has also been representing the ÖGB on the Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation.