Strengthening social dialogue

EESC opinion: Strengthening social dialogue

Key points


  • welcomes the Commission Communication on Strengthening social dialogue in the European Union and the Commission proposal for a Recommendation on Strengthening social dialogue in the European Union;
  • stresses that social dialogue at national and European level plays a key role in shaping economic, labour and social policies that promote the upward convergence of living and working conditions across Member States;
  • points out that positive results of social dialogue should not, however, be taken for granted, as social dialogue cannot be simply taken as an instrument that can be implemented. The Commission should look at the successful national, regional and sectoral models and see why they became successful;
  • agrees with the Communication that more needs to be done both nationally and at EU level to support collective bargaining coverage. In this respect, the Recommendation, while listing important factors in improving the coverage, lacks a highly relevant point made in the Communication, namely the importance of sectoral collective agreements;
  • welcomes the fact that the Recommendation aims to improve tripartite social dialogue at both European and national levels, while noting that in some Member States, the tripartite dimension of social dialogue is more formalistic than meaningful. Establishing a common effective framework, to be implemented at national level for the involvement of social partners, might help ensure that effective and quality consultations with national social partners take place;
  • points out that as stated in the Recommendation, the specific role of social partner organisations should be fully recognised and respected in social dialogue structures and processes, while recognising that civil dialogue, involving a broader set of stakeholders on a wider range of topics, is a separate process.