Social dialogue in (Eastern) Europe. Twenty years after

From 21 to 24 September 2017 took place in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, a seminar about “Social dialogue in (Eastern) Europe. Twenty years after”, organized by IFES (Institutul de Formare Economică şi Socială), with the support of EZA and of the European Union.

35 representatives of workers’ organizations from Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Romania, and as guests, Ukraine and Moldavia participated in the seminar.

The aim of the seminar was to investigate the status of the social dialogue in the East European countries. How this democratic tool is effective and taken into consideration at national level. How is the voice of the social dialogue from the East European countries consonant with the social dialogue in whole Europe.

In our days 10 of the East European countries are members of the European Union. The membership was the end of a sinuous road of preparation. Models and good practices were laid out on the acquis communautaire list. And the East European countries did their best to change the national regulation, to build institutions, to ”discover” the social actors and to put in place a convincing social dialogue. This construction was done with the help and under the supervision of the Western European countries. Countries in which the social partners used to had a very clear status, with history in practicing the social dialogue.

Years 2004, 2007 and 2013 are moments for enlargements of the European Union, especially toward the East. Since then the whole world pass the financial crisis, fall and growth of the economy, with a lot of social problems as result.

  • Topic fields

- The social dialogue as an instrument of democracy. A project started more than 20 years ago;

- State of the social dialogue in European Union

- Priorities of the European Social Dialogue

- The situation of social dialogue in European countries

- Analysis on the impact of the social dialogue legislation adopted in 2011 in Romania

- The future of the social dialogue in the European countries and Union

  • Seminar results

The seminar gave the opportunity to hear 10 reports of the social dialogue situation from10 different countries from the European Union and neighbour countries (some of them being candidates). It was also presented an overview of the social dialogue at European level. The “Romanian landscape”” was presented more in detail as long as the number of the participants coming from Romania was larger. The participants discovered once more that there are similarities between the situations in their countries. They learned about the achievements, but also about the mistakes. Especially in the East European countries it seems that the authorities are not very interested in the development of a real social dialogue. In many situations, vital measures concerning the professional and personal life of the workers are taken without of any consultation. The law provisions were changed in order to make unclear the social dialogue mechanism. Once more, the reliability on the politicians is very low.