Main messages from the Tripartite Social Summit, Wednesday 16 October 2019 in Brussels

The main topic of the Tripartite Social Summit was “ Progressing on the social and economic dimensions for a competitive, fair and sustainable Europe: The role of social partners and social dialogue“. The discussions were structured around three sub-themes:

  • Just Transition to a climate-neutral economy
  • Investing in skills and improving access to adult training
  • Designing an industrial policy fit for the future

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker stressed: “Europe is better off than five years ago. More than 14 million jobs have been created and a record number of 241 million people is in employment in our Union. With more than 24 legal initiatives adopted to support it, the European Pillar of Social Rights has become a reality and is making a difference in Europeans’ lives, from better work-life balance to more fairness in the labour market. In a fast-changing world, it is more important than ever to keep asserting the social dimension of the European Union. Because Europe will be social or it will not be Europe.”

From the side of the rotating presidency, Finland’s Prime Minister, Antti Rinne, underlined: “We need to make the EU the world’s most competitive, socially fair, low carbon economy. In order to achieve sustainable growth we must invest in skills, education and promote social justice and equality. We must understand that there can be no economic sustainability without social and ecological sustainability”

The General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Luca Visentini, said: “Europe needs radical change in its economic policy, to make growth more sustainable both socially and environmentally. Public and private investment, like employment rates and wage developments, are still far behind the pre-crisis levels, and need a strong impetus through a reformed EU economic governance, a sound industrial policy and strengthened social dialogue and collective bargaining in all EU member states. Europe must manage in a fair and inclusive manner the challenges of climate change, digitalisation, automation and globalisation. A socially just transition will require public investment to create quality jobs in clean industry, the right to life-long learning for all workers, and for governments and employers to work with unions to anticipate and manage change.”

BusinessEurope’s President, Pierre Gattaz, representing employers (BusinessEurope, CEEP, SMEunited) stated: “A thriving economy is essential for Europe to further develop and converge. An ambitious industrial strategy, together with a supportive SME strategy, have a key role to play to strengthen our industrial base in Europe and generate economic growth and jobs over the long-term. We need to take into account the supportive role of efficient and effective public services. Ensuring the sustainability of our social model requires to maintain the competitiveness of our European Union. Economic sustainability is the foundation for productive investment needed for social development and environmental protection. What we want to spend, we first need to earn. Employers are ready to work on effective solutions, with trade unions in their role as social partners, as well as in tripartite cooperation with the European Commission and national governments.”