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European Commission - Press release

EU meets social partners on contributions to boost growth and combat joblessness

Brussels, 01 March 2012 - The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy and Danish Prime Minister Ms Helle Thorning-Schmidt – for the Presidency of the Council – met this morning at the Tripartite Social Summit with European workers' and employers' representatives. The Summit focused, in particular, on the social partners’ key role in EU governance and their important contribution to restoring jobs and growth. Enda Kenny, the Prime Minister of Ireland, Sotiroula Charalambous, the Cypriot Minister of Labour and László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion also contributed to the debate.

President Barroso said: "The Commission's priority is to restore growth and jobs. Social dialogue remains a core element of the European social model. While fair fiscal consolidation measures are needed to set a solid basis for future actions to revive the European economy and increase competitiveness, Europe also needs an ambitious agenda for growth and jobs. The activation of young people on the labour market is an essential element in our efforts to ensure future growth. Trade unions and in particular businesses and employers’ organisations can make an important contribution".

Emphasising the role of the European social partners, László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion underlined: "Social partners must be involved in the EU governance. The EU's employment target of 75% by 2020 is clear so measures targeting employment have to be everyone's top priority, and we will only succeed if we coordinate European and national efforts”. The Commissioner stressed the important role of business and trade unions in shaping EU policy and addressing youth unemployment, saying “The social partners have a huge role to play in making the Youth Opportunities Initiative a reality on the ground through apprenticeships, or dual learning systems for example. They can also help Member States spend EU funds on quality programmes that have a lasting impact".

The European social partners (ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, CEEP and UEAPME) agreed on the need for an urgent focus on growth and jobs and strong investments to support recovery. They presented their joint work programme for 2012-2014, which includes, among others, a joint work on youth employment and an in-depth employment analysis of the issue, life long learning and the economic and social governance of the EU. They also called for their active involvement in the implementation of national reform plans and in EU governance as a whole.


The Tripartite Social Summit meets twice a year, ahead of the spring and autumn European Councils. It is an important opportunity 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.

Contacts :

Cristina Arigho (+32 2 298 53 99)

Nadège Defrère (+32 2 299 04 03)

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