Social dialogue in the candidate countries

Social dialogue and EMU in Cyprus, Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia - Workshop

Vienna, 26-28 May 2003

Speech abstract - Timo Kauppinen and Christian Welz
Research managers, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions

Guidelines for producing the National Development Programmes

The purpose of the Social Dialogue and EMU project is to produce development programmes for the accession countries related to the countries' adjustment to Economic and Monetary Union.

The first phase of the project is to produce a national report on economic, political and industrial relations from the EMU perspective. The national expert will prepare this report according to specific guidelines. The government and the social partners select the expert. The acceptance of the report will take place at the Vienna workshop.

The second phase is to produce a national development programme. This will take place at the Vienna workshop. The workshop includes presentations, group work and panel discussions. Government, employers and trade unions have appointed two participants each. The seventh participant is a national expert, who has produced the national report. The workshop is organised according to the principles of good discussion, which guarantees to all participants equal opportunities for expressing their views and impact on the outcome of the process.

The Vienna process will start with short presentations which describe and analyse the adjustment of the EU countries to the convergence criteria of the EMU. The purpose is to have an orientation to the convergence process in the EU countries. The workshop is based around four sessions:

  • Today's situation.
    The first session analyses the economic, political and industrial relations situation in the accession country based on the national report prepared by the national expert. The outcome of this session is an acceptance of the national report and a united view on strengths and weaknesses of today's situation.
  • Tomorrow's situation.
    The second session analyses tomorrow's situation in each of the accession countries after the convergence process to the EMU criteria. What does the EMU society look like - its economic policy, welfare policy? How will companies pass through the convergence phase? The outcome of this session is an EMU foresight for the future.
  • Development programme.
    The third session compares today's situation to tomorrow's situation based on the previous workshops seeking topics for development. The challenge is to select a topic which can be developed by using social dialogue as a main tool. The outcomes of this phase are topics for the national development programme.
  • Action plan for a national development programme.
    In the fourth session the national groups will select the most suitable and acute topic for the national development plan and the group will also prepare the national action plan for the development programme. The outcome is a national action plan for the national development programme.

Guidelines for the development programmes can be summarised into six 'rules of thumb':

  • What. The group has to select and specify the topic for the development programme so that it can be built, using social dialogue as a main tool.
  • Why. The group must explain why the topic has been selected and why it is an important one to develop, and how the topic is related to the convergence of the EMU criteria.
  • When. The group has to set the timetable for the programme: when it will start, the development stages and when it is expected to conclude.
  • Where. The group has to say where the programme will take place, and which institutions, persons or regions will be included in the process.
  • Who. The group has to identify who will take responsibility for the accomplishment of the development programme and how social dialogue is a part of the process. What is the role of social partners in the process?
  • Which. The group has to outline which resources, human and financial, are needed for the programme and how they will be brought to bear on the project.

After reaching consensus and finding answers to all 'rule of thumb', the national programmes and action plans will be presented at the plenary session and discussed with the other participants. The national expert will act as a reporter and finalise the programme.

In the autumn, national workshops will be organised for the final acceptance of the national programme in cooperation with the government and national social partners. The outcome of the entire project will be handed to the Ministry and to the tripartite national bodies.

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