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Brussels, 29 October 2009

Tripartite Social Summit: economic and social recovery at the heart of discussions with the European social partners

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, the Member of the Commission responsible for employment and social affairs, Vladimír Špidla, and the Swedish Prime Minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt – representing the Council Presidency – this morning met the European social partner organisations. At the heart of the discussion: responses to the crisis and in particular to the rise in unemployment, crisis exit strategies and the preparation of a long-term integrated strategy for 'EU 2020'. Today's Tripartite Social Summit showed a clear consensus on the need to base the EU 2020 strategy on sustainable growth, a green economy and social cohesion. Representatives of the forthcoming Spanish and Belgian Presidencies also took part in the discussion.

Commission President José Manuel Barroso said: 'We must continue to apply a fiscal stimulus and use other measures to support the economy until we have overcome the crisis. It is not yet time to end these measures. But when the time comes, coordinated exit strategies must be implemented, because the consequences of excessive long-term public debt would be disastrous for the economy and for jobs. My ambition is to guide Europe towards a strong, green and inclusive economy based on new sources of growth and promoting sustainable and better-quality jobs. This cannot be done without the social partners. I count upon their active participation, particularly in developing a common vision for 2020'.

Addressing the European social partner organisations, Vladimír Špidla, Member of the Commission responsible for employment and social affairs, made the point that: 'The crisis has exposed the vulnerability of our economy. But it has also demonstrated the resilience of the European social model and especially the importance of social protection systems. For this reason, employment and social protection measures must have pride of place in the new EU 2020 strategy. I would like us to face together the future challenge of moving on from a crisis management policy to a long-term growth strategy'.

During the Tripartite Social Summit, the European social partner organisations (ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, CEEP and UEAPME) acknowledged the fact that the crisis is continuing to hit the job market and agreed on the need to give thought to a post-crisis strategy. The social partners want to be fully involved in mapping out the future EU 2020 strategy and are cooperating on the preparation of a joint contribution.


The Tripartite Social Summit meets twice a year, ahead of the spring and autumn European Councils, to allow for an exchange of views between the social partners, the Commission and the heads of government and employment ministers of the current and subsequent two Council Presidencies.

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