Conference on tripartism

Tue, 29/10/2002
Wed, 30/10/2002


EU Presidency Conference on Tripartism in an enlarged European Union

Co-organised by the Danish Ministry of Employment and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions


Elsinore, Denmark
29-30 October 2002

Tripartism in an enlarged European Union
Elsinore, Denmark 29-30 October 2002

See also conference information from the Danish Ministry of Employment.

Under the auspices of the Danish Presidency, this conference focuses on the importance of tripartism in relation to economic and social development and to employment and social inclusion. It will provide an important forum for exchange of experiences and views designed to support tripartite dialogue in an enlarged EU.

The conference engages with vital aspects of employment and social policy within the Danish Presidency programme "Social inclusion - through social dialogue".


Widely used, the term tripartism may include various concepts. In the context of this conference, it refers to concertations, consultations and/or negotiations between representatives of workers, employers and public authorities at national and EU level

Structure of the conference

The plenary sessions will offer simultaneous interpretation in English, French and Danish. The workshops will be conducted in English

The first plenary session gives a review of Tripartism in the European Union, its main subjects, practice, formal and informal structure as well as relations existing between different levels.

The second plenary session discusses and analyses the Challenges for tripartism in an enlarged European Union. The EU enlargement process is underway and candidate countries are proceeding with institutional reforms. Tripartite bodies have been established in almost all countries, functioning in a way that responds to the political and economic requirements of the country concerned. However, structures for tripartism in the candidate countries need to be strengthened if countries are to assume responsibility and engage in an equal tripartite dialogue within the EU.


  1. Employment policy and the role of tripartism
    Tripartism is essential in pursuing the strategic goal of more and better jobs in the European Union. Tripartism is essential not only in the formulation of employment policies and strategies at central level, but also in the decentralised implementation of employment strategies. The European Employment strategy is based on this clear principle. The workshop will discuss how tripartism is being applied in relation to the European Employment strategy.
  2. Social inclusion and tripartism
    This workshop will discuss how tripartism can support and promote social inclusion. One of the main themes will be factors essential for the successful inclusion of marginalised persons into the labour market.
  3. New approaches to tripartism
    European societies are faced with challenges such as globalisation, the development of a knowledge society, the transformation of labour markets and employment relations, etc. These challenges and, more importantly, the response to them may require the social partners to redefine their role and the way they operate. The high level group on industrial relations and change highlighted the fact that the social partners would need to redefine the content of their self-interest strategies in a 'public-regarding way'. A new approach to tripartism has developed at various levels: local, national, EU level. Examples of recent developments in tripartism as reported in EIRO will be present
  4. Enhancing capacities for tripartism in the candidate countries
    Part I: Quality of Industrial Relations in the Candidate Countries benchmarked in the EU perspective
    Part II: Sharing experiences - building capacities
    The Commission has encouraged the development of civil society in the candidate countries as part of their preparation for membership. Up to now, most candidate countries lack the necessary structures and organisational capacity to ensure effective tripartite dialogue. If the employers' and employees' organisations of the candidate countries are to engage in tripartite negotiations at both national and EU level, the structural and institutional capacity will require further strengthening.
  5. Globalisation: a challenge for tripartism
    European countries have very different models of industrial relations rooted in history, tradition and culture. In spite of differences in industrial relations, tripartism has played an important role in many countries. The Maastricht and Amsterdam Treaties have created the tripartite model for the European Union in labour issues. At the same time, globalisation is challenging this tripartite European social model by demanding greater flexibility than the previous welfare models and working life structure provided. This workshop will analyse these tendencies and discuss the challenges of globalisation on tripartism in industrial relations.

Main findings and debate

On the second day, the main findings of the workshops presented by rapporteurs will be followed by a round table debate among key speakers on the future of tripartism.

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