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Outcomes

The single market and freedom of movement have caused the social partners in the European hospital sector to fear the onset of social dumping practices. Crucial to social dialogue in this sector, therefore, is the upholding of European social values: solidarity, social justice and social cohesion.

The main driver of social dialogue in the hospital sector seems to have been the ever more pressing impact of European integration on health policy.

Issues such as the single market, free movement and enlargement have clearly caused the social partners to fear the onset of social dumping practices. They have moreover focused their social dialogue on the organisation of healthcare in Europe, which, in their opinion, must be founded on the basis of European social values: solidarity, social justice and social cohesion.

Reading their 2007 joint text, one detects a degree of suspicion about the role division between the EU and its Member States. The signatories emphatically reassert the principle of subsidiarity and their belief that the EU should not interfere in the funding, organisation and planning of healthcare. They call for a clarification of powers in order to avoid any unwarranted intervention by the European Court of Justice.

Similar suspicion is expressed with regard to any desire on the part of the EU institutions to impose market-based, competitive practices on the sector, which would have the effect of lowering the quality of care and sacrificing the values of solidarity and social justice.

ETUI and Observatoire Social Européen (2010) European Sectoral Social Dialogue Factsheets. Project coordinated by Christophe Degryse, online publication available at www.worker-participation.eu/EU-Social-Dialogue/Sectoral-ESD