European Commission's point of view

Social dialogue is defined by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to include all types of negotiation, consultation or simply exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues of common interest related to economic and social policy.

It can exist as a tripartite process, with the government as an official party to the dialogue or it may consist of bipartite relations between labour and management (or trade unions and employer organisations), with or without indirect government involvement.

Dialogue can be informal or institutionalised and often it is a combination of both.

It takes place at either national, regional or company level.

It can be inter–professional, sectoral or a combination of all of those.

The social dialogue and the quality of industrial relations are at the centre of the European social model. The social dialogue is the driving force behind successful economic and social reforms. It has arrived at a crossroad, and has a considerable scope of action, extended further by the prospective of enlargement and the backup it requires. It is the vehicle for core values of participation and responsibility based on firmly rooted national tradition and provides a suitable framework for managed modernisation, also in the candidate countries. To take on this role properly at European level, it needs, however, to broaden its practices, diversify its operational methods and use, to its best advantage the entire bargaining area.

The legal framework

The treaty of Rome, modified by the treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam, makes the European Commission responsible for promoting and supporting the European social dialogue.

Article 138 of the EC Treaty

Article 139 of the EC Treaty

The cross industry social dialogue

The sectoral social dialogue

The European Commission's communications and decision

Communication 322 "Adapting and promoting the Social Dialogue at Community level" - 1998

Decision on the establishment of Sectoral Dialogue Committees - 1998

Communication 341 "The European Social Dialogue, a force for innovation and change" - 2002

Communication 12 “Developing the European Dimension in Sport” - 2011

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Database social partners

Database of the employer and employee organisations in the EU25 (as of 31.12.2006)

Statement on EU social dialogue in the sport sector, 12th Dec. 2012

EASE and UNI Europa Sport, the social partners in the European sport sector, concluded the first meeting of a two year test phase for a European Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee today in Brussels. The meeting was chaired by Jean-Paul Tricart, the head of the European Commission's social dialogue unit. More...

Commission's Communication on Sport, Jan. 2011

The European Commission adopted a Communication entitled “Developing the European Dimension in Sport” on 18th January 2011 that flows from the European Union new role under the Lisbon Treaty to support and coordinate sport policy measures taken by Member States.
The Commission confirms its support to the EU social partners and announces the launching in 2012 of a test phase of 2 years of the ESSDC for sports and active leisure.
EASE issued a Common position on the article on EU social dialogue.