In view of the green transition, advancing digitalisation and the emergence of new forms of employment, the project aims at adapting cooperation with the social partners to these new realities.
In concrete terms, the initiative consists of a Communication from the EU Commission on strengthening the social dialogue at EU level and a Proposal for a Council Recommendation on strengthening the social dialogue in the individual Member States.
Recommended actions at national and European level
The proposed recommendations of the EU Commission to the Member States cover several important areas. Among other, Member States should ensure the involvement of the social partners in important decisions on economic, employment and social policy. The strengthening of the capacities of workers' and employers' organisations is also recommended to the individual countries, whereby access to relevant information in particular is considered essential in this context. Finally, the social partners themselves should be encouraged to share information about their work and achievements more widely and to take greater account of new forms of employment in collective bargaining in the future.
At EU level, the proposals of the EU Commission provide for similar actions for the time being. As at national level, the social partners are to be more closely involved in the shaping of the various policy areas at European level. In this context, the consultation on the political priorities of the EU within the framework of the preparation of the EU Commission’s work programme is particularly emphasised as a starting point. Further measures are intended to make the technical and financial support of the social partners by the EU more targeted. In this context, the EU Commission is considering the joint establishment of a research network to monitor and promote social dialogue in the EU. Finally, a fundamental modernisation of the framework conditions of the social dialogue at EU level by adapting the existing regulations is also envisaged.
Concrete action must now follow
Although the EU Commission's initiative to strengthen the social dialogue takes up core demands of the social partners in Europe, it remains to be seen to what extent the proposals will be reflected in concrete measures. In an initial statement, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) was particularly pleased with the EU Commission's plan to establish a social dialogue coordinator in each Directorate-General. Furthermore, the plan to increase the involvement of the social partners in the preparation of the work programme of the EU Commission is welcomed. According to ETUC Deputy General Secretary, Claes-Mikael Stahl, the proposed measures are suitable for achieving more democracy at the workplace and a fairer economy. However, these announcements must be followed by corresponding deeds in order to really make Europe more social.
European Commission: Commission sets out concrete actions for greater involvement of social partners at national and EU level
European Trade Union Confederation: EU mainstreams social dialogue – on paper