Tripartite social summit of October 17th, 2011

The upcoming October 23 European Council summit promises to be decisive for the future of Europe. In preparation for this gathering, a Tripartite Social Summit* was held on October 17 in Brussels to address economic growth and job creation as factors in the pursuit of sustainable economic recovery.

This tripartite meeting was an opportunity to bring together representatives of the European social partners, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, European Commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion László Andor, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Polish Deputy Prime Minister Waldemar Pawlak. Poland holds the rotating presidency of the European Union until the end of 2011.

Meeting participants agreed that “Everything must be done to guarantee the stability of the Eurozone”, according to José Manuel Barroso. Bernadette Ségol, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Federation, summed up a feeling shared throughout the European Union in light of the current state of affairs: “We are afraid that the situation may become uncontrollable”.

The summit also addressed the growing “indignant” movement: “the significant rise in unemployment in the European Union is the most painful social symptom of this economic crisis”, emphasized Mr. Barroso. In response to these concerns, the Commission will soon be submitting recommendations to the Member States on the most effective means of stimulating creation of jobs for young people.

“Job creation must be part of economic recovery. […] Not only must we speed up structural reforms, improve governance and increase coordination of economic policies, but we must also find the right balance between budget consolidation and implementation of policies intended to support growth through job creation” observed László Andor. The Commission added that doing so would require strengthening social dialogue “on every level and in every country”, an opinion widely supported by all stakeholders in this meeting.

*The Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment aims to increase the involvement of social partners in the debate on current macroeconomic problems. Since its creation in 2003, Tripartite Social Summit meetings are regularly organized prior to the spring and autumn sessions of the European Council.

Bernadette Ségol et José Manuel Barroso