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Latest developments

This section gives the opportunity to keep up to date in the field of (interprofessional) European Social Dialogue.

European Social Dialogue database by the ETUI launched

The ETUI has just launched the newest of its databases that covers the area of European Social Dialogue agreements. This database collects joint social dialogue documents and makes it possible to analyse the sectoral social partners’ ‘output’. It enables comparisons between sectors, the levels of social dialogue activity, the topics addressed, and even the approach to social dialogue developed by the social partners.

The database is freely accessible at https://esddb.eu/en

“Social dialogue as labour market regulator” panel at the ETUI & ETUC Conference 'Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?'

During the recent conference 'Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?' by the European Trade Union Institute and the European Trade Union Confederation organised on 24-26 September 2014 panel 3 was devoted to the question of future role(s) social dialogue may/should play as a tool in regulation of labour markets.

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ETUI and ETUC Benchmarking Working Europe 2014

The report – available in PDF format and print – reviews the crisis and EU austerity policies in the past five years from the point of view of Europe's social agenda. It comprises a critical, fact-based diagnosis of the first five years of the EU’s crisis management policies in view of the Europe 2020 agenda. It suggests that Europe finds itself “half-way through a lost decade” and provides the scientific underpinning of the ETUC’s political roadmap for a ‘new path for Europe’. Chapter 7 takes stock of workers’ rights to information, consultation and board-level employee representation at both the national and transnational levels. Chapter 4 conducts a stocktaking exercise in relation to the last five years of significant labour law reforms, including information and consultation rights.

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EU social dialogue newsletter n°6 – March 2014

The European Commission launched its 6th issue of the EU Social Dialogue Newsletter. For the first time the Newsletter includes a table showing the follow-up of European sectoral social dialogue 2012 and also the latest overview table summarizing the outcomes of European social dialogue in 2013. Published three times a year, the Newsletter provides a broad picture of developments in European social dialogue, which is being developed at cross-industry level and through 43 sectoral social dialogue committees.

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Representativeness of social partners in the European cross-industry social dialogue

In March, Eurofound published a study identifying the relevant national cross-industry and European actors in the field of cross-industry industrial relations. The background to this is the European Commission’s intention to identify, recognise and assess the representative European associations to be consulted under the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU). According to the study’s results “the national members of ETUC, EUROCADRES and CEC organise 91% of all employees and the national affiliated organisations of BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME and CEEP organise 85% of firms which employ 89% of workers.” The study concludes that these organizations are therefore “to be regarded as the most important EU-wide representatives of labour and management at cross-industry level.”

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ETUC, Businesseurope, UEAPME and CEEP confirmed as representative European social partners


Since 2007, Eurofound has been carrying out for the European Commission a set of so-called representativeness studies with a particular focus on the European sectoral social partners. A recent study now serves to confirm also – if such confirmation were necessary – the representativeness of the European cross-industry social partners ETUC (and its Liaison Committee Eurocadres/CEC), Businesseurope, UEAPME and CEEP.

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Is the EMU finally getting its social dimension, including social dialogue?

On 2 October the European Commission published its Communication on “Strengthening the Social Dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union” (EMU). The Commission acknowledges that “there is room to better consult social partners at key steps of the decision-making process under the European Semester”. In a press release, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) “welcomes the introduction of key social indicators in the semester but deplores the powerlessness of these indicators to change economic governance rules.”

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European social partners joint statement on involvement of the social partners in European Economic Governance

Of relevance to the previous item and as already mentioned in a previous WP News bulletin, the European social partners had decided to give thought to the consequences of the new European economic governance for social dialogue on the EU and national levels. After several meetings, the ETUC, Businesseurope, UEAPME and CEEP succeeded in reaching agreement on a draft joint statement.

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Negotiations on a framework of actions on youth employment finalised

In March 2012, the European Social Partners adopted their fourth work programme to run until 2014, addressing youth and employment, as two of the main activities. With more than 22 per cent of young people unemployed, there is an urgent need to remedy this unacceptable situation. Negotiations on a framework of actions started on 18 September 2012 and further eight meetings took place from October 2012 till March 2013.

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Ad hoc working group on social partner involvement in EU economic and social governance set-up

The European social partners intend to launch a reflection in the social dialogue committee with the aim of defining a shared vision on the consequences that the current debate on European economic governance will have on social dialogue at EU and national levels. It was decided to set up an ad hoc working group, which met for the first time on 20 March.

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Failure of the revision of the working time Directive negotiations

Following attempts by and the failure of the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council to revise the Working Time Directive, the European social partners ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME and CEEP launched negotiations in November 2011 on the revision of this directive. The negotiations were now broken off.

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European Commission legislative work programme 2013 – ‘socially empty’ and threat to European social dialogue

On 23 October, the European Commission launched its legislative programme for 2013, which could be considered the most meagre programme ever in relation to actions in the social area. Apart from being an almost blank sheet in this area, the programme also represents a serious threat to European social dialogue at both interprofessional and sectoral level.

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