KANBrief 1/22

Three questions for: Dennis Radtke, MEP for the Christian Democratic Union (CDU)

Mr Radtke, you represent the Ruhr region in the European Parliament, a job you do with great dedication. How do you square the demands of work in your constituency with the meetings in Brussels and Strasbourg, and how has the pandemic affected your work?

Juggling committee meetings, meetings of the political group, plenary sessions and appointments in my constituency is certainly a challenge for my scheduling! The CDU members of the European Parliament are assigned to regional constituencies. My constituency covers the whole Ruhr region, from Duisburg to Hamm. My responsibilities as a Member of the European Parliament for the CDU also cover the districts and cities of Bielefeld, Gütersloh and Wuppertal, and the work requires me to travel between the Ruhr region, Strasbourg, Brussels and Berlin. As you can see from that, being a member of the European Parliament means I spend a lot of time travelling. When the parliament's in session, I generally travel to Brussels or Strasbourg on Mondays and return home on Thursday evenings. I use the Thursday evenings, Fridays and Saturdays, and also the weeks in which sessions aren't taking place, for events in my constituency. Because of the pandemic, many events are currently being held in digital formats. What I miss most is the continual direct contact with the people in my constituency.

You represent your political group on the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, whose remit also covers safety and health at work. What topics and measures are you currently discussing?

The Committee on Employment and Social Affairs is responsible for a large number of issues. Every five years, the European Commission evaluates how the statutory framework of occupational safety and health regulations is being implemented in practice. This evaluation is currently pending.

The EU Treaties grant the Commission the power to legislate in the field of workplace safety and health. In doing so it supports the Member States in this respect and complements their own work. This body of minimum standards serves as a common European framework for the individual Member States, who are free to adopt further, stricter measures of their own. For example, we anticipate that by the end of this legislative period, the Commission will have produced a legislative proposal to protect workers against asbestos. We have also produced a report calling on the social partners to develop a solution in the coming years for workers, especially remote workers, to have the right to disconnect. If they fail to reach a satisfactory agreement, the Commission should take action in this area as well.

Many of the topics relevant to KAN, such as revision of the Machinery Directive, are dealt with under the auspices of the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee. What does work in the committees of the European Parliament look like?

Interaction between the committees and political groups differs from that in Germany's state and federal parliaments, because the European Parliament doesn't have a common governing coalition that's reflected in the make-up of the Commission. There's also no direct catalogue of responsibilities setting out what directives are dealt with exclusively in a single committee; many topics involve multiple committees. The individual political groups, to which all members of parliament in a party grouping belong, draw up a common position for their group. This then also sets out the political group's position for the subsequent committee meetings.

Mr Radtke, thank you very much for your time.

Dennis Radtke

  • Born in 1979 in Wattenscheid
  • A former industrial clerk and trade union secretary
  • Vice Chairman of Germany’s Christian Democratic Employees’ Association (CDA)
  • Member of the European Parliament since 2017
  • Employment and social policy spokesman for the EPP political group, member of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy

You can find Dennis Radtke’s full biographical profile here.