EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

SGI Europe


SGI (Services of General Interest) Europe was established in 1961 and is based in Brussels. Formerly known as the European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services and Services of general interest (CEEP), SGI Europe is the public sector counterpart to BUSINESSEUROPE and represents enterprises and employers’ organisations with public participation and enterprises carrying out activities of general economic interest, whatever their legal ownership or status. At present, its members are European associations and several hundred member associations, enterprises and organisations in 20 countries. SGI Europe's main objective is to represent the interests of public enterprises vis-à-vis the European institutions.

SGI Europe members operate at European, national, regional or local level, and may also be affiliated to national federations, and thus indirectly be members of other associations. While full members must be based in EU or EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries, enterprises from non-EU countries can join as associate members.

SGI Europe's General Assembly exercises all the powers needed to achieve the organisation’s objectives: election of the President, appointment of the Secretary General, approval of the budget, etc. The President of SGI Europe is elected every three years, and is assisted by a first Vice-President and other Vice-Presidents who lead the National Sections. The President’s main task is to represent SGI Europe in its external relations. The Council of Administration is responsible for the general management of SGI Europe. A Delegates’ Committee, with the same membership as the General Assembly, is the guidance body for policy and scientific matters. The Congress of SGI Europe, held every three years, determines strategy and lays down guidelines for future action. Permanent committees, specialised by theme, produce studies and political positions. The Social Affairs Committee, for instance, prepares the mandate for social dialogue, which must be approved by the General Assembly.

In 1985, the European Commission invited SGI Europe to participate in the Val Duchesse social dialogue. It was a party to the historic 31 October 1991 agreement between the European social partners – the Agreement on Social Policy – and is recognised as one of the social partners referred to as ‘management’ in Articles 154-155 TFEU. In Union Européenne de l’Artisanat et des Petites et Moyennes Entreprises (UEAPME) v. Council of the European Union, Case T-135/96, [1998] ECR II-2335, the Court of First Instance declared that SGI Europe was representative of employers in the public sector.

Though normally acting jointly with UNICE, SGI Europe may engage in social dialogue independently. A first framework agreement was signed by SGI Europe and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) on 6 September 1990, covering two sectors: rail transport and energy distribution. The framework agreement provided for initial vocational training, for training in new technologies and for better health and safety at work and mobility of workers, with guaranteed continuity and transferability of various aspects of social protection. After that, SGI Europe, along with UNICE (now BUSINESSEUROPE)/UEAPME and ETUC, signed other framework agreements on parental leave (1995, revised in 2009), part-time work (1997), fixed-term work (1999), telework (2002), stress at work (2004) harassment and violence at work (2007) and inclusive labour markets (2010).

See also: employer organisations; European sectoral social dialogue; European social dialogue; European social model; representativeness; EU system of industrial relations; sectoral employer federations; Social Policy Protocol; tripartite concertation.


Please note: the European industrial relations dictionary is updated annually. If errors are brought to our attention, we will try to correct them.


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