At the Tripartite Social Summit this morning, EU leaders and social partners focused on jobs, growth and investment priorities for Europe.
The participants in the Social Summit discussed the analysis of the Member States's economic situation contained in the Country Reports recently published by the Commission, as well as the preparation of the further steps in the European Semester of economic policy coordination, including the preparation of national programmes expected in April. The Social Summit also discussed progress with the Investment Plan for Europe and the views of social partners on other major EU policy initiatives, such as the Energy Union.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: "I am a strong believer in the social market economy - and the social market economy can only work if there is social dialogue. Social partners can identify the greatest needs and opportunities - helping us invest, grow and create jobs. Their support and participation is essential. I said that I wanted to be a President of social dialogue and this Commission made a commitment to strengthen social dialogue in Europe and make it an integral part of our jobs and growth strategy. Today we are delivering on that promise."
Vice-President for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Valdis Dombrovskis, said: "Further engagement with social partners in the European Semester is a task that needs to go beyond Brussels to the grassroots in Member States. National social partners can be better involved in the design and implementation of reforms so necessary to strengthen the economic recovery and open up better prospects for the most vulnerable in society".
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, highlighted: "The Commission is committed to working more closely with social partners to jointly develop solutions to the main challenges Europe is facing. Social dialogue can and should be a driving force for successful economic and social policies. The social partners play a key role in putting in place the conditions that will stimulate job creation and raising awareness of the consequences of economic and social change on social systems and labour markets".
This was the first Tripartite Social Summit since the new European Commission took office in November. It follows the EU High-Level Conference on "a new start for social dialogue" which took place in Brussels on the 5 March. 30 years after the launch of European social dialogue, the high-level conference marked the beginning of a renewed partnership between social partners and EU Institutions, and showed the importance of European social dialogue in addressing today's economic and social challenges.
The Tripartite Social Summit meets twice a year, ahead of the spring and autumn European Councils. It is an opportunity for a constructive exchange between European employer and employee representatives ("social partners"), the European Commission, EU Heads of State or Government, and Employment and Social Affairs Ministers from the countries holding the current and future EU Council Presidencies.
This morning, social partners joined the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker; the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk; and Latvian Prime Minister, Laimdota Straujuma. Vice President Dombrovskis, Commissioner Thyssen, Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijk Asscher, Latvian Minister Uldis Augulis and Luxembourg Minister Nicolas Schmit also joined the debate.
The EU-level employer and employee representatives taking part in the Tripartite Social Summit 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). Together they are referred to as the cross-industry social partners, since they represent a broad cross-section of economic activities.
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For more details about the High-Level Conference on Social Dialogue:
Report on Industrial Relations in Europe in 2014
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