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Social dialogue in the context of the EMU

EESC opinion: Social dialogue in the context of the EMU


Key points

  • Social dialogue in the European Union is an inherent part of the European project and of the policies and measures aimed at overcoming the crisis that must necessarily be based on the wealth of social dialogue.
  • Social dialogue is bipartite, between social partners, supplemented by tripartite coordination with the European institutions and political bodies and various forms of consultation.
  • A clear distinction must be drawn between social dialogue and civil dialogue. Although they cannot be merged, as at European level the treaty defines the participants, competences and procedures involved in social dialogue and gives the social partners a quasi-legislative role in the area of working conditions in the broadest sense, neither should they be completely divorced from each other. The European social partners have already broadened their range of activities, undertaking specific work with a number of European associations and NGOs.
  • The social partners must continue to increase their autonomy and their capacity for collective bargaining and the European institutions must take their joint declaration of October 2013 into account. It is the institutions' responsibility to facilitate European-level social dialogue and help to translate its achievements into practice. The social partners must also implement their autonomous agreements more effectively.
  • The complexity and scale of the challenges engendered by the crisis and by the economic and social changes call for ad hoc cooperation with other civil society representatives with due consideration for their respective responsibilities and competences.



The European Parliament has requested EESC's opinion on the structure and organisation of the social dialogue in the EMU. Social dialogue is and must remain an inherent part of EU's growth and employment policies, notably in measures to fight the crisis. Economic governance and social integration are both integral parts of creating growth and jobs. Social dialogue can play a decisive role to guarantee sustainable economic and social recovery in all EU countries, help generating high-quality jobs and succeed in economic and social reforms.