Council adopts recommendation on strengthening social dialogue in the European Union

The Council waters down a text that is already very weak by nature.

In February this year, we reported about the publication of the Commissions’ social dialogue initiative. The package included a communication on strengthening social dialogue at EU level and a proposal for a Council recommendation on strengthening social dialogue at national level.

The latter text was adopted on 12 June 2023. The recommendation urges member states to act in four main areas:

  • ensuring an enabling environment for social dialogue;
  • systematically involving social partners in the design and implementation of employment and social policies;
  • encouraging social partners to conclude collective agreements;
  • providing increased support to social partners.

As already mentioned, the non-binding nature of the recommendations means that the effectiveness of this text will largely depend on member states’ willingness to implement it.

Regrettably, the Council has further watered down a text that was already non-binding in nature.

It should be noted for instance that the first reports from member states on the implementation of this recommendation will not be sent to the Commission until 2025, six months later than the date initially proposed by the Commission. Similarly, the first evaluation of the implementation of this text will only take place six years after its adoption (instead of four, as initially planned by the Commission). Finally, the Commission's initiative to develop indicators on social dialogue at national and European level, notably to monitor the implementation of this recommendation, has been curbed. The Commission will simply have to present an opinion to the Council on the possibility to improve data collection on social dialogue.

You can consult the Council recommendation here.