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February - May 2011

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07/02/2011 - “Liaison Forum” at the Commission DG for Employment

The “Liaison Forum”, which is organised several times per year by DG Employment, offers a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on subjects of interest for EU social partner representatives. The following subjects were presented and discussed:

  • Recent and forthcoming developments for European social dialogue and industrial relations, including the Europe 2020 Strategy and the European Semester
  • 2010 and 2011 calls for proposals under the budget lines for social dialogue and industrial relations
  • Key priorities and expected outcomes of European sectoral social dialogue in 2011
  • European socio-economic research of interest to social partners: work and welfare, working conditions, job quality
  • Dates and topics for Liaison Forum meetings during 2011

08/02/2011 - “Single Market: time to act!” conference at the Commission DG for Internal Market

The European Commission organised this high-level conference with the presence of Commission President Barroso, Commissioners Barnier (Internal Market), Semeta (Taxation), Dalli (Consumer protection) and numerous EU stakeholders. It took place in the framework of the four-month period of debate and consultation following the publication of plans for the future Single Market Act (SMA) on 27 October 2010, and aimed to provide valuable stakeholder input on single market policy to the Commission and to other EU institutions. The event was divided in three sessions:

  • The keys to good governance in the single market;
  • Strong, sustainable and equitable growth;
  • European citizens at the heart of the single market.

The final version of the SMA will be presented in spring 2011 by taking into consideration the input of interested parties. The implementation of the SMA over the next two years should enable a fiscal, administrative and regulatory frame to be put in place in order to boost innovation, investment, trade and mobility in order to make the single market work and prove its advantages to the public opinion in practice. The ultimate purpose of this process is to make turn the single market into a key vector of economic growth, competitiveness and jobs in Europe over the next ten years by removing obstacles to EU citizens and companies. Participants stressed that better communication from the Commission, deepened political commitment of the EU Institutions and of the Member States and bigger EU investments should be strengthened in order to reach those ambitious goals.

11/02/2011 - European Employers’ Network (EEN) at BusinessEurope

The EEN, which is organised several times per year by BusinessEurope, offers a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on issues of concern for European employers’ representatives. The following subjects were presented and discussed:

  • Tripartite social summit on 24 March 2011
  • Working time: discussion on European employers’ responses to the second-stage consultation of social partners
  • New Skills and Jobs: discussion on European employers’ positions on the Commission’s flagship initiative “An agenda for New Skills and Jobs”
  • Activities in the cross-industry social dialogue
  • Joint work on economic migration, mobility and integration
  • Joint projects on climate change, flexicurity and social dialogue
  •  Activities in the sectoral social dialogue
  • Exchange of information on the basis of the monitor report
  • Ongoing social impact assessments
  • Update on other social affairs dossiers: recent debates on precarious work; posting of workers; restructuring; corporate social responsibility; pregnant workers; seasonal workers

10/03/2011 - 11/03/2011 - Tripartite Social Forum on the implementation of the ‘New Skills and Jobs Agenda’

This first annual Tripartite Social Forum organised by DG Employment took place in the context of the ‘New Skills and jobs Agenda’ published on 23 November 2010. This conference aimed at enhancing the social partners’ participation of this Commission’s initiative to boost job growth in the EU. The conference was an opportunity for a comprehensive and interactive discussion with social partners’ and Member States’ representatives on the whole Agenda issues. While no formal conclusions were foreseen, the debate helped discussing the orientation and the implementation of this Agenda which requires a mix of EU policy instruments (including legislation, policy coordination and social dialogue), and contributed to the ongoing exchange of views on growth and jobs in times of budgetary consolidation, as well as on the role of social partners in the governance of the Europe 2020 Strategy. The forum included two sessions of two parallel workshops structured along the four priorities identified in the Agenda: flexicurity / skills / quality of work / job creation. The following subjects were presented and discussed:

  • Reducing (labour market) segmentation and supporting transitions through flexicurity
  • Equipping people with the right skills for employment
  • Improving the quality of work and working conditions
  • Supporting job creation

17/03/2011 - 18/03/2011 - Conference on Industrial Relations in Europe

The conference aimed to present and discuss the issues developed in the 2010 Industrial Relations in Europe report that was published on 3 March 2011. Every two years the European Commission elaborates the Industrial Relations in Europe report, which provides an overview of industrial relations developments in Europe for the previous two-year period. The 2010 edition is the sixth report in the series. Like the report itself, the conference focused on a review of industrial relations in times of economic crisis and on the role of social dialogue in achieving the objectives of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Around 150 participants - social partners, academics and representatives of the Member States - attended the event, which consisted of 4 panel sessions, each devoted to one aspect of the report:

  • Industrial Relations in Europe in the 21st century's first decade
  • Negotiating the crisis: the actors of social dialogue
  • Industrial relation outcomes: overcoming the crisis
  • The possible contribution of social partners to the Europe 2020 strategy

22/03/2011 - European social dialogue meeting

Jointly organised by UNI Europa and the EFCI, this meeting was mainly dedicated to the following issues:

  • Follow-up of project - Improving the European social dialogue in the Cleaning Industry Sector: Examination and Renewal (project financed by the EU Commission)
  • Publication of the European Commission guide on Social Considerations in Public Procurement
  • Presentation of handling of cleaning contracts within the European Commission by Mr Alexandre Jacobs, European Commission, Office of Infrastructure and logistics Brussels (OIB)
  • Study on Muscular-skeletal diseases conducted on behalf of UNI Europa member FGTB   
  • Representativeness study for DG Employment carried out by the European Foundation for the improvement of living and working conditions (Eurofound)

The meeting served also to present the adopted work programme 2011-2012 with the following main issues:

  • Health and safety
  • Regulatory issues
  • Social dialogue
  • Working conditions
  • Standards setting and training
  • Economic crisis

23/03/2011 - European Business Services Round Table at the EFCI premises

The aim of EBSRT is to develop a common platform for business-related services on issues of mutual interest. It gathers representatives of associations involved in the services sector across Europe. The following subjects were presented and discussed:

  • EU research and innovation: presentation by Domenico Rossetti (DG Research and Innovation)
  • European Committee for Standardization (CEN) update: presentation by Andreea Gulacsi
  • Services and industrial policy: presentation by Peder Christensen (DG Enterprise and Industry)
  • Eurochambres report - implementation of the Services Directive: presentation by Giovanni Campi

07/04/2011 - Meeting at Eurofound Brussels liaison office concerning the representativeness of European sectoral social partners organisations

Since 2006, the European Commission has mandated the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) to carry out studies on the representativeness of European sectoral social partners’ organisations. The aim of this exercise is to identify the relevant national employers’ and trade unions’ associations in the field of industrial relations in selected sectors in order to provide information needed for the setting up and functioning of sectoral social dialogue Committees at EU level. The aim of this meeting was to gather the European social partners of four sectors (industrial cleaning, hotels and restaurants, audiovisual services, life performance) in order to present the scope of the upcoming representativeness studies that will be carried out by Eurofound through its EIRO network of 27 national research centers. The Eurofound officers presented a general overview of the process and of the methodology used for the representativeness studies. The following items were discussed:

  • Background of the representativeness studies
  • Combined approach for screening
  • Definition of a sector-related European social partner organisation
  • Definition of a sector-related national social partner organisation
  • Work process
  • Representativeness studies for 2011 (roundtable)

04/05/2011 - Meeting with representatives of “Fit for Work Europe” at the EFCI premises

The main aim of this meeting was to discuss about an eventual collaboration of European social partners of the cleaning industry (EFCI / UNI Europa) with the Fit for Work initiative regarding Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) in the workplace. This initiative originally linked with the Work Foundation in the UK, aims now to create a broad and inclusive dialogue between stakeholders at national and EU level (policy makers, trade unions, employers’ associations, patients, and researchers) in order to strengthen their coalition supporters.