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European Commission - Statement

Joint Statement following the Tripartite Social Summit

Brussels, 18 October 2017

Joint statement by President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Council Donald Tusk, Prime Minister of Estonia Jüri Ratas, President of BusinessEurope Emma Marcegaglia and General-Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation Luca Visentini

This Autumn Social Summit was devoted to "Shaping Europe's future: strengthening resilience and promoting economic and social progress for all". Three sub-themes fed into this discussion: The social dimension of Europe; The involvement of the social partners in policies and reforms at national level - progress made and ways to improve; and Investing in learning in a digital economy and society.

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker underlined: "A fair and more social Europe is key in shaping our Union's future. This is what citizens rightly expect. I want the EU to stand up for the rights of its citizens in a fast-changing world. This is what the European Pillar of Social Rights is all about. I trust that we will be able to proclaim it at the Social Summit in Gothenburg on 17 November."

In his statement, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said that: "It is our common task now to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared as widely as possible. And this is why in our meeting today we discussed, in very concrete terms, how the social partners can be better involved in national policy-making. I remain convinced that only by taking the views of social partners into account can we make real progress. This is especially important in today's digital age, where citizens, young and old, need to be equipped with the right skills to prosper. Because in the digital age, the quickest way to go backward is to stand still. This is what I discussed not only with the social partners today but also with the European leaders at the Digital Summit in Tallinn. And at the meeting of the European Council tomorrow, the spirit of Tallinn will drive our political decisions."

From the side of the rotating presidency, Estonia's Prime Minister, Jüri Ratas, said that "Less than three weeks ago I had the honour to host the first ever European Union Digital Summit in Tallinn. One of the topics was the future of the economy and society. EU leaders realise that a major shift is under way in society and that the social partners have an important role to play in this context. Indeed, their support for maintaining well-functioning EU labour market and welfare systems is vital. We already live in a digital society and we have to adapt rapidly in order to seize the economic opportunities that digitalisation presents, without leaving anybody behind. We have to provide the right skills as well as social protection to all people, whether they work in traditional companies or have cutting-edge jobs in the digital economy. The social partners have looked at these issues in depth. We are all committed to reviewing EU and national laws and policies in order to make sure they are fit for the digital age".

BusinessEurope's President, Emma Marcegaglia, representing employers (BusinessEurope, CEEP, UEAPME) said “Europe is one of the best places to live, work, and do business in the world. The European project made this possible. We should take full advantage of the current momentum – with unity backing the European project and an improved economic situation – to ensure that EU and national reforms necessary to modernise European economies and societies are put in place. The renewed focus on industrial policy is an important step. We now need to feed the strategy through a structured way forward. The EU needs to become more attractive for investment and to maintain a fair and ambitious trade agenda opening new markets and creating sustainable growth and new business opportunities for enterprises of all sizes. As regards the social dimension of Europe, the key challenge is to set in motion a partnership for reforms for improved employment outcomes. The EU should act where there is a shared understanding of its added value, respecting subsidiarity and social partner autonomy.”

The European trade unions want to convince the EU member states to adopt, and the European Commission to follow up vigorously to fully implement, an ambitious and strong European Pillar of Social Rights” said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). “We need more concrete measures to make a real difference in the lives of working people. Many working people are yet to feel any recovery, and need hard evidence that the EU is committed to social justice and social progress. The EU needs to make up for the lost years of crisis, and also to manage the changes that decarbonisation and digitalisation will bring so no worker is left behind.”


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