European Union Partnership
The European social dialogue is a flagship principle to the European social model and refers to discussions, consultations, negotiations and joint actions involving organisations representing employers and workers. It can be bipartite, between European employers organisations (BusinessEurope, SMEUnited and SGI Europe) and trade unions (ETUC) or tripartite, also involving the EU institutions.
In a bipartite format, employers and trade unions can negotiate and sign Autonomous Framework Agreements and also Directives, ahead of the institutions.
BusinessEurope is the leading advocate for business at European level, a recognised social partner, with direct member organisation from 35 European countries. They work on behalf of members to ensure that the voice of business is heard in European policy-making, directly interacting with the other European social partners and EU institutions.
Concordia is an associate member, sole representative of the Romanian employers.
European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
The EESC is a consultative body that gives representatives of Europe's socio-occupational interest groups and others (employers, trade unions and civil society) a formal platform to express their points of view on EU issues. Its opinions are addressed to the Council, the European Commission and the European Parliament.
Concordia is representing the Romanian Employers (Group I).
European social dialogue is recognized in Articles 154 and 155 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).6 The European Commission has the obligation to consult the social partners prior to presenting proposals in social policy, as well as on the content of these proposals.7 The partners can decide, due to their recognized autonomy, to approach the subject in a bipartite format.
The consultation process at European level is structured in two stages:
- 1st stage: focused on the possible directions of the potential legislative proposal in social policy. The Commission notifies the social partners and submits a general document including the framework of the legislative proposal.
- 2nd stage: centred around the document drafted following the centralization of the contributions collected in the first phase.
There are several structures involved in the European social dialogue
- The Social Dialogue Committees
The main body for the cross-sectoral social dialogue at European level is the Social Dialogue Committee (SDC). It comprises representatives of employers and workers from EU member states, European social partners, and European Commission representatives. It meets 3-4 times/year, adopts the texts negotiated by both sides and identifies potential future initiatives. Concordia actively participates in SDC.
The European sectoral social dialogue committees – the forum for European social partners representatives at sectoral level to discuss specific issues. Currently, there are 43 such sectoral committees.
- The Tripartite Social Summit - organized twice a year (one during each rotating presidency’s mandate) and bringing together the representatives of the troika rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU, of the European Commission, and of the social partners, at the highest level. The objective of this forum is to ensure the effective participation of social partners in the implementation of EU economic and social policies, in accordance with the troika’s agenda. Concordia participated in the Tripartite Social Summit during the Romanian Presidency (2019).
- The Consultative Committees – established to support certain EU policies, they have a tripartite structure (representatives of member states and of social partners). Thus, European social partners have the possibility to play an informal coordination role. The Committee for the European Social Fund (ESF) falls within this category.
- Tripartite European agencies – social partners are also represented in the Management Boards of the following European agencies, thus directly contributing to these bodies’ governance:
- EU-OSHA – European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
- CEDEFOP - European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training
- Other bodies: the European social partners have various roles in other EU bodies/structures, such as the European Labour Authority. Concordia’s representative is an alternate observer on behalf of BusinessEurope for the Undeclared Work Platform.
Social partners play an important role in the European Semester and the national reforms evaluated within this framework, including the National Recovery and Resilience Plans (NRRPs). Concordia is actively taking part in consultations on economic and social reforms.