The European social dialogue is a fundamental element of the
European social model that is formally recognised by the EC Treaty
(Articles 154 and 155). It encompasses the discussions, consultations,
negotiations and joint actions undertaken by the social partner
organisations representing the two sides of industry (workers and employers). In particular, at Community level, workers are represented
by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and European employers are represented by three different organisations: the Confederation of European Business (BusinessEurope,
formerly UNICE), the European Centre of Enterprises with Public
Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) and, following a cooperation agreement signed in 1998, the European Association of Craft Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (UEAPME).
Briefly, the involvement of the social partners at the European level
can be distinguished in three different types of activities: 1) tripartite consultation, which takes place between the social partner organisations and the European public authorities; 2) consultation of the social partners, in the spirit of Article 154 of the Treaty and 3) the European social dialogue,
which is the name given to the bipartite work of the social partners,
whether or not it stems from the official consultations of the
Commission based on Articles 153 and 154 of the Treaty.
Through this section of the Resource Centre, the ETUC
aims to provide information and practical assistance to social
partner representatives (and especially trade union organisations) as
well as practitioners in industrial relations on policy and legislative
developments on European social dialogue.
The European social partners, namely the ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE-UEAPME and the CEEP, have concluded a number of agreements that have been
ratified by the Council of Ministers, which are now part of European
legislation. They have also concluded some 60 joint texts (including
framework of actions, joint analyses, declarations, etc.). Follow the
links to read more.
As integral part of the European social dialogue, the European social partners have concluded joint work programmes
identifying a variety of diversified instruments and covering a balanced range of themes of
common interest for workers and employers.
Social dialogue also takes place in different industrial sectors,
coordinated on the trade union side by the European Industry
Federations. This is an important tool for tackling industry-specific
questions at a European level. To date, almost 300 joint texts have
been adopted, including joint opinions and agreements, guidelines and
codes of conduct. Follow the links to find out more.