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Jobs first!

Extraordinary meeting of the Workers' Group Consiglio Nazionale dell'Economia e del Lavoro, Via David Lubin n°2, 00196 Roma, Italy

The EESC Workers' Group held an extraordinary meeting at the premises of the CNEL (Consiglio Nazionale Economia e Lavoro - Italian National Council for Economics and Labour) in Rome, on 26 September 2014.

The event unveiled the priorities of the Italian Presidency of the European Union and examined the economic and social situation in Italy. Special focus was given to the issue of employment and the upheavals which Europe has experienced in this field, after years of crisis and austerity that have led to the destruction of thousands of jobs. In this regard, it is necessary to claim spaces of dialogue and participation capable of interpreting changes in society and defending the social cause, which has no place in political decisions.

To this effect, a study was presented on "The representation of the labour world in national and European institutions" carried out by the University of Verona.

The following high-level speakers were present, amongst others, to comment on the study and discuss the role of economic and social councils in Europe:

  • Teresa Bellanova, Italian State Secretary for Labour and Social Policy;
  • Pier Paolo Baretta, Italian State Secretary for Economic Affairs and Finance;
  • Ivan Scalfarotto, State Secretary for Constitutional Reforms and Relations with Parliament ;
  • Antonio Marzano, CNEL President;
  • Susanna Camusso, Secretary-General of the CGIL (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro);
  • Raffaele Bonanni, Secretary-General of the CISL (Confederazione Italiana Sindacato Lavoratori);
  • Luigi Angeletti, Secretary-General of the UIL (Unione Italiana del Lavoro).

The representativeness of the social partners and civil society is one of the main issues in the current debate on labour law. The economic crisis in Europe has brought the role of "intermediate bodies", such as national and European economic and social councils, and their function and action into question. It has never been so necessary to address these questions in an open debate and to bring the relevant stakeholders and political authorities around the table to acknowledge the past and future roles of the economic and social councils in Europe.