Brussels, 20 March 2014
Tripartite Social Summit: EU leaders and social partners stress need to rebuild confidence in Europe
EU leaders and social partners highlighted the urgent need to rebuild confidence in European integration at the Tripartite Social Summit held this morning. European workers' and employer's representatives joined the President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy and the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras – for the Presidency of the Council – at the Summit, ahead of the European Council. The Summit agreed on the need for further collective efforts to pursue sustainable economic growth, while ensuring social cohesion and quality employment.
The Summit took stock of past actions and discussed future steps in the European Semester and the social partners’ key role in strengthening the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (see IP/13/893), as well as their importance in elaborating and effectively implementing reforms at European and national level. László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and Franca Biondelli, Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, also contributed to the debate.
President Barroso said: "As Europe emerges from this crisis, our priority must be to strengthen the recovery. To do that we must continue to reform, invest in policies that can provide lasting growth and create better and quality jobs, such as strengthening Europe's industrial base. That's why I'm pleased to meet the social partners before this European Council, which will discuss our joint economic priorities for the year ahead, with a focus on industrial competitiveness, as well as energy and climate issues. It is crucial to have national and European social partners involved in economic decision-making during the European Semester for policy coordination, to ensure our decisions have broad support. We must all work together to rebuild confidence and get our economies moving again."
Emphasising the role of employer and employee representatives at European-level, Commissioner Andor underlined: "Exiting the social crisis and improving the resilience of our European social model are part of our endeavour to ensure a sustainable and job-rich recovery. Social dialogue is a crucial component of our European social model and today it helps to develop a common growth agenda. I firmly believe that social partners, both at EU and at national level, should be actively engaged in the reflection process necessary to ensure the success of the adjustment and reform policies and to build solidarity at the EU level."
The European employer and employee representatives stressed the need for a renewed focus on jobs. They asked for the active involvement of their counterparts at national level in the implementation of national reform plans and in EU governance as a whole. They presented progress achieved so far in implementing their joint work programme for 2012-2014, including the ongoing joint negotiations on employment.
The Tripartite Social Summit meets twice a year, ahead of the spring and autumn European Councils. It is a significant opportunity for an exchange of views between European employer and employee representatives, the Commission and the heads of government and employment ministers of the current and subsequent two Council Presidencies.
The EU employer and employee representatives are: the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC); BUSINESSEUROPE; the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public services (CEEP); and the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (UEAPME).
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