During the recent conference, 'Europe at a crossroads. Which way to quality jobs and prosperity?', by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), organised on 24-26 September 2014, panel 3 was devoted to the question of future role(s) social dialogue may/should play as a tool in regulation of labour markets.

The panel debate featured contributions from renowned experts with extensive and long standing expertise in the field of social dialogue: Patrick Itschert (ETUC Deputy General Secretary), Maria Helena André (Director of the Bureau for Workers' Activities, ACTRAV), Andrée Debrulle (Confederation of Christian Trade Unions, CSC/ACV, Jan Willem Goudriaan (European Federation of Public Service Unions, EPSU, Sławomir Adamczyk (Independent and Self-Governing Trade Union "Solidarność"), Almudena Asenjo (Fundación Francisco Largo Caballero). The panel was moderated by Philippe Pochet (ETUI General Director).

At the heart of discussions were questions of the evolution, state of play and future of the European social dialogue with a particular focus on the strength and weakness of trade unions. The panel further elaborated on the alternatives to revamp the European social dialogue.

Among the current key challenges listed by the panelists were:

1) dismantling the (European) Social model/Dialogue accelerated and propelled in/by the crisis with disastrous effects within and beyond EU borders;

2) how to turn around the negative trends, positions and narratives and the trade unions' role in these efforts, especially given the (European) social partners' limited readiness and willingness to come to the negotiating table.

To meet the above mentioned challenges concrete priorities for action were discussed including mobilisation, increased recruiting efforts, promotion of new narrative, and peristance in demanding a comprehensive and positive agenda from the European Commission and other authorities.

More information on the panel and the conference will be available soon from the ETUI in form of a comprehensive conference report.

In the meantime further information about the conference can be found on the ETUI Storify page and on the ETUI you tube channel (interviews with conference speakers).

Further reading: