On 12 November 2020, EFEE participated in a workshop for social partners on the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), with the special advisor to Commissioner Schmit, Andrea Nahles. The workshop brought together social partners from various sectors to discuss the future of social dialogue at the EU-level, and how this should be reflected within the Action plan on the EPSR. The workshop was divided into three main sessions: (1) the need to increase the visibility and awareness of European social dialogue, (2) improving the structures and processes of European social dialogue, and (3) Supporting capacity-building of national social partners.

The workshop was opened by Special Advisor Andrea Nahles, who stressed the important role of social dialogue at the EU-level and lauded the work that had already been done by the participants. She did however note that there are still various barriers impeding social partners from optimally performing on a European level and expressed her wish to identify and eliminate these hurdles through this new Action Plan. Several contributions made during the first session stressed the need to take advantage of the current crisis to revitalize the European social dialogue process. It was noted that while awareness is a critical factor, this can only be effective if social partners are involved in a structural and effective way in European policy-making. More specifically, it is critical to emphasize that tripartite social dialogue can only be strong if there is a strong bipartite social dialogue.

During the second session, stakeholders from both the employers’ side as well as the trade union’s side expressed the need to make a number of important improvements to the structure of the EU social dialogue landscape. Most importantly, the need to consult with the social partners in a meaningful way, where quality is preferred over quantity, needs to be prioritized by the European Commission in order to ensure that the specific role of social partners is reflected in EU policy, impact assessments and funding instruments. In this regard, it was furthermore noted that sectoral and cross-sectoral partners should be consulted alike to optimally make use of their expertise.

The most important point of discussion during the final session revolved around the capacity-building of sectoral social dialogue and the funding for this. It was noted that capacity-building of sectoral social dialogue is an issue for social partners on both sides of the aisle alike because this impacts the entire effectiveness of the process. It is therefore paramount to make the resources and funding for capacity-building and social dialogue meetings at the EU-level a priority, if we want social dialogue to become successful in the future. In this regard, it was furthermore concluded that the European Commission should take extra care in respecting the social partners autonomy at all levels and maintaining their impartial status within the social dialogue process.

The social partners will send Ms Nahles their final remarks before the end of 2020. The report from the Special Advisor is then expected to be published in the beginning of February, before the release of the Action Plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights later that month.

Stakeholders can still submit their own contribution to the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights until 30 November 2020.


For more details, please contact isaline.ossieur@educationemployers.eu