Committee created for social dialogue on European and international issues
The French government has set up a Committee for Social Dialogue on European and International Issues, with the particular aim of involving the social partners more closely in French proposals on European matters. An initial extraordinary meeting of the committee - at which the Prime Minister was present - was held in December 1998.
A decree published on the 30 November 1998 established a Committee for Social Dialogue on European and International Issues (Comité du dialogue social pour les questions européennes et internationales), overseen by the Minister for Labour and Employment. The role of the Committee is:
- information and consultation of the social partners on work in progress in the areas of labour, employment, vocational training and social affairs within the European Community and other relevant international organisations;
- involvement of the social partners in all stages of coordinating the employment policy (FR9805107F) introduced by the November 1997 European Council"Employment Summit" in Luxembourg (EU9711168F); and
- consultation of the social partners on "broad economic policy guidelines."
The committee - chaired by a qualified person appointed for three years by ministerial decree - is composed of:
- permanent representatives of the Minister of Labour (and those of other ministers, depending on the agenda);
- eight trade union representatives - two each from the the General Confederation of Labour (Confédération générale du travail, CGT), the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (Confédération française démocratique du travail, CFDT) and the the General Confederation of Labour-Force ouvrière (Confédération générale du travail - Force ouvrière, CGT-FO) and one each from the French Christian Workers' Confederation (Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens, CFTC) and the French Confederation of Professional and Managerial Staff-General Confederation of Professional and Managerial Staff (Confédération française de l'encadrement - Confédération générale des cadres, CFE-CGC); and
- eight employers' representatives - two from the Movement of French Enterprises (Mouvement des entreprises de France, MEDEF) (as the CNPF has recently been relabelled - FR9811140F) and one each from public companies, the General Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (Confédération Générale des petites et moyennes entreprises, CGPME), the Crafts Trade Association (Union professionelle artisanale, UPA), the National Farmers' Union (Fédération nationale des syndicats des exploitants agricoles, FNSEA,) the National Union of Self-employed Workers (Union nationale des professions libérales, UNAPL) and the National Confederation of Mutual Insurers, Cooperative Societies and Agricultural Credit Unions (Confédération nationale de la mutualité, de la coopération et du crédit agricoles).
If the representatives are unavailable, deputies may be used. All are appointed, by decree, for a three-year period.
The committee must meet before each session of the European Council or the EU Council of Labour and Social Affairs Ministers. The committee may also be convened by the chair.
An initial extraordinary meeting of the Committee - at which the Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, was present - was held on 3 December 1998, in preparation for the European Council summit in Vienna on 11-12 December, part of which was given over to discussions on employment (EU9812141N). The Prime Minister argued strongly that "employment levels within the EU should be compared in order" to ensure "quantified" monitoring of National Action Plans on employment. For the unions, Louis Viannet of CGT stated that "investment and consumer spending" should be encouraged - in particular using "major works projects." Nicole Notat (CFDT) stated that the "underlying issue" of European construction was now "a political and a social one". Marc Blondel (CGT-FO) stressed that the EU economic convergence criteria should be more "flexible to allow for a more proactive jobs policy".Georges Jollès of MEDEF, on the other hand, regretted that no agenda had been set prior to the meeting and that the time allotted to each delegation had been extremely limited.