Social Partners Lunch Debate: The European Semester - Towards a stronger involvement of social partners?
Since 2013 the European Commission, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and the European social partners have assessed in different communications, position papers or notes the role that national social partners should play and are playing in the European Semester. At EU level, the involvement of the social partners in the European Semester process has improved at the different junctures. However, there also seems to be a general consensus among the actors (EU institutions and European social partners) that despite recent progress an even closer involvement of the social partners both in the European and national strands of the European Semester is needed.
The objective of this Eurofound lunch with EU social partners is to exchange and debate on social partners’ involvement in the European Semester focusing on the role national social partners play in the employment and social policy aspects of the Semester.
The discussion will be based mainly on the new report The role of social partners in the European Semester which aims to analyse the involvement of peak social partners in the European Semester at EU and national levels. It namely maps, analyses and assesses the role of the national social partners during the separate junctures of the European Semester - National Reform Programmes (NRPs) and adoption of the Country Specific Recommendations (CSRs) - with a special focus on employment and social policy issues.
Eurofound Director Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Christian Welz and Ricardo Rodriguez Contreras, Research managers in charge of the report, will introduce the debate. They will give insight into:
- the basis and content of the involvement of the social partners in the European Semester
- the role different actors can play in both NRPs and CSRs design and implementation, and
- the challenges they have to address.
Jeroen Jutte, Head of Unit A1 - Employment and social aspects of the European Semester, EC Directorate General for Employment, and Bart Vanhercke, Director, European Social Observatory will join us to comment on the Eurofound report and contribute to the debate with the social partners.
Participation is by invitation only.
The new report does not address in detail the other key pillar of the EU semester, which is the economic governance pillar that covers the coordination of fiscal policies or the Macro-economic Imbalance procedure, nor attempts to assess social partner involvement in them. The policies adopted in the context of these processes have been important influences on national industrial relations systems, labour market policies and institutions and the framework in which social partners are operating. These issues have been addressed in earlier Eurofound research on Impact of the crisis on industrial relations (2013) and Changes to wage-setting mechanisms in the context of the crisis and the EU’s new economic governance regime (2014).