Tripartite Social Summit, 8 March 2017

European Council
  • 08/03/2017
  • 17:20
  • Press release
  • 118/17
  • Social affairs
  • Employment
08/03/2017
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The Spring Social Summit debated "The future of Europe: charting the course towards growth, employment and fairness". Participants to the Tripartite Social Summit expressed in particular their views on making work pay as a way to promote employment and social inclusion, new forms of work and the future of industry as well as on the European pillar of social rights and the role of the social partners.

In his opening statement, the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, said that "The 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome will be a moment for reflection and unity, but also a moment to set the direction of the EU for the decade to come. The European social partners have every reason to celebrate this anniversary, as proud parents. In many ways, business and labour were the Treaty's chief executors. For 60 years, companies, entrepreneurs and workers played a central role in bringing alive the Treaty's theoretical freedoms for ordinary citizens. It is an achievement which today needs to be defended, protected and deepened."

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker underlined "It is time for a united Europe of 27 to shape a vision for its future. We launched the debate last week with a Commission White Paper and we will soon present more detailed ideas for strengthening the social dimension of Europe. This will come together with our final proposal for a European Pillar of Social Rights. The social partners, at all levels, will have a key say in this debate. Earlier today, EU social partners signed an autonomous agreement on active ageing and an intergenerational approach, which I welcome. This is a good example of how social dialogue can deliver. I look forward to an honest and wide-ranging debate in all corners of Europe." 

From the side of the rotating presidency, Malta's Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, said that "Our aim is to achieve economic prosperity and social progress.  The two are intertwined and depend on each other.  It is prosperity with a purpose. Economic growth and low unemployment are the result of bold decisions - reducing taxes, boosting investment, removing bureaucratic hurdles and introducing measures to make industry more competitive. The social dimension goes hand in hand with economic growth. We believe in creating an inclusive labour market that provides opportunities for all individuals through investment in training, re-training, education, adequate working conditions and family friendly measures. Social Dialogue is an important driving force behind successful economic and social reforms. The involvement of all stakeholders in the process ensures that all interests are taken into account.  Let us all work together to achieve greater opportunities for our people."

For the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) General Secretary, Luca Visentini, said “Trade unions urge the European Union to redouble their efforts to increase investment and to create quality jobs, and to encourage collective bargaining to enable pay rises that will drive growth. Workers need to feel the recovery. Trade unions and employers agree on the need for a serious industrial policy for Europe, and today presented to the Presidents Juncker and Tusk an agreement which the social partners will implement on active ageing, to ensure a working environment and work organisation that enables workers of all ages to remain in work until legal retirement age.” 

BusinessEurope's President, Emma Marcegaglia, representing employers, said "Europeans are faced with unprecedented challenges: in the international environment, in up-coming Brexit negotiations, regarding employment, security, migration, etc. Member states acting alone, will not be able to effectively respond to these challenges. They must stay united. It is enterprises that will drive improvements in the prosperity of EU citizens by investing in the EU, generating more growth and creating jobs. The Commission should also not lose sight of the fact that the EU is a good place to live and work. The EU is the region in the world where social well-being is highest. European employers -  BUSINESSEUROPE, CEEP and UEAPME believe that to improve Europe's prosperity, it is more important than ever to move forward the structural reform agenda to encourage efficient and productive private and public investment and pave the way to higher growth and more employment in Europe. An ambitious EU industrial policy is urgently needed. High performing public services must be fostered as well as a dynamic EU SME action agenda.”   

The views cited in this text are those of the individual / organization concerned and do not collectively constitute the point of view of the Council or the European Council.