European economy’s perspectives: the EU tripartite social summit

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The Tripartite Social Summit takes place twice a year ahead of European Council meetings. It is co-chaired by the Presidents of the European Council and the Commission and attended by the Head of State or Government representing the rotating Presidency of the Council of the EU. 

    Present social summit has been an opportunity for a constructive exchange of views between the heads of main EU institutions, the leaders of European social partners, as well as representatives of national employee and employer organisations of the current and upcoming countries in the three rotating Presidency’s Councils – Spain, Belgium and Hungary.
Besides, the employment and social affairs ministers of these Presidency countries took part too. The participants underlined the importance of having an optimal strategy towards European competitiveness challenges and make the EU an attractive place for investments, growth and quality jobs.

Main EU issues at the summit
At the end of October 2023 the EU leaders and the EU-wide social partners met in Brussels for the tripartite social summit.
The main theme of the summit was creating “building blocks” on delivering successful European economy with the main attention to workers and companies.
The participants discussed and exchanged views on the following issues:
a) addressing labour shortages in the EU businesses;
b) successful industrial and energy policy in delivering quality jobs and sustainable growth;
c) response to the US’ Inflation Reduction Act and measures for the European economy; and
d) social partners’ view on the EU-wide economy’s perspectives.

Participants’ opinion
= In view of the rapidly changing global situation, the European social partners are at the heart of a proper response to existing economic and social challenges. With millions of businesses looking for workers, the member states’ governance need to improve the access to the labour market and help workers acquire the skills they need.
At the same time, the EU-wide focus is on simplifying rules for businesses to boost the EU’s competitiveness. Thus, only by working together with social partners the member states will be able to ensure quality jobs and sustainable and inclusive growth.
Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission

= The European Union is determined to become the global industrial, technological and commercial powerhouse. That means reducing European external dependencies in critical areas, such as digital and net-zero technologies and raw materials. The EU institutions and the member states’ governance must create proper conditions for industries and businesses to generate jobs that work for people, and develop their skills for the economies of the future.
As the member states are in the process of adapting to the green, digital, and demographic transitions, they have to make sure that national economies stay fair, resilient, competitive and sustainable. The European social partners are here to assist in tackling these unavoidable challenges and making these transitions a success.
Charles Michel, President of the European Council

= One of the four priorities of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union is to promote greater social and economic justice. This requires more intensive efforts to advance the initiatives and objectives set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan. The Porto Social Summit was an important step forward; already at that time Spain committed to make further progress. The Tripartite Social Summit is a key moment to exchange views on this topic; besides, it is also a first-class opportunity to enhance social dialogue and involve all social partners in this process.
On behalf of the rotating presidency of the Council of the EU in the second part of 2023, the acting Prime Minister of Spain, Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón.

= After several years of successive crises, the EU member states are still lagging behind the key global competitors. As they adapt to the green and digital transitions, European enterprises have to cope with significantly higher regulatory burden; e.g. the energy prices are still notably above their long-term average. The EU needs to do more to address the structural factors that undermine the attractiveness of Europe as an investment location, both public and private.
Priority issues to be addressed in the coming year are access to energy at affordable prices, unnecessary reporting requirements and other administrative burdens as well as the labour and skills shortages.
European employers look forward to cooperating with the Commission, the Council and ETUC towards the publication in 2024 of an EU action plan to address these shortages.
Fredrik Persson, BusinessEurope’s President representing employers, e.g. BusinessEurope, SGI Europe, and SMEunited.
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= The EU member states must be equipped with strong industrial policies to ensure a green and inclusive future. Core to that is focusing on strengthening the quality of employment.
Delivering shared prosperity and workforces acquiring the right skills can only be achieved when people have a strong collective bargaining conditions over their work.
The key objective is aligning the actions of the EU-wide public institutions, including the design of measures to combat the cost-of-living crisis, as well as investment and public procurement rules. Only in this way, the EU-27 can mobilise the breadth of resources in the member states towards seizing opportunities to clean technologies and boosting green innovation.
Esther Lynch, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC.
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