Tag Archives: Social partners

European cross-industry social dialogue

European cross-industry social dialogue

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European cross-industry social dialogue

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

European cross-industry social dialogue

Tripartite cross-industry social dialogue

Tripartite social dialogue is conducted between wage earners, employers and the European institutions. It essentially takes place at cross-industry level, on political and technical issues, particularly in areas such macroeconomic policies, employment, social security, education and training.

This type of dialogue aims at ensuring the effective participation of social partners in implementing the European Union’s (EU) economic and social policies. As such, the European social partners meet at the Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment, the role of which is laid down in Article 152 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU (TFEU). They may also get together within working groups and at specific seminars.

Bipartite cross-industry social dialogue

Bipartite social dialogue is conducted between social partner organisations. At cross-industry level it takes place principally within the Social Dialogue Committee (SDC).

Under the framework of their cooperation, the social partners may adopt agreements which are implemented in the Member States through national procedures and practices (Article 155 of the TFEU).

In addition, in certain areas the social partners may request that their agreements be adopted in the form of a Decision by the Council, following a proposal by the Commission and informing the European Parliament. This procedure can only be implemented in the areas listed in Article 153 of the TFEU: for example, it relates to working conditions, health and safety of workers, social security, protection in the case of termination of an employment contract, etc.

European social partners

At cross-industry level, European workers are represented by:

  • the European Trade Union Confederation (CES/ETUC);
  • the CEC European Managers;
  • EUROCADRES;

European employers are represented by:

  • BUSINESSEUROPE;
  • the European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (UEAPME);
  • the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP).

Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment

Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2003/174/EC of 6March2003 establishing a Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment.

Summary

The task of the Tripartite Social Summit is to ensure social dialogue between European institutions and employers’ and workers’ representatives. The Summit takes place within the context of cross-industry dialogue. Its agenda therefore includes issues affecting all economic sectors and workers within the European Union (EU).

In addition, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) henceforth recognises the Summit’s contribution to the proper conduct of European social dialogue (Article152).

Operation

The Summit meets at least once a year, before the spring European Council. It brings together representatives of:

  • the Council Presidency and the two subsequent Presidencies;
  • the Commission;
  • the social partners, who are divided into two delegations of equal size comprising 10workers’ representatives and 10employers’ representatives.

The agenda for the Summit is determined jointly by the representatives of the institutions and the social partners.

Background

The Social Summit replaced the Standing Committee on Employment following a joint decision of the social partners at the Laeken Summit in December 2001.

It institutionalises the informal social summits held since December 2000 in the context of the Lisbon Strategy for Jobs and Growth.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 2003/174/EC

6.3.2003

OJ L 70, 14.3.2003

European social dialogue: a force for innovation and change

European social dialogue: a force for innovation and change

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European social dialogue: a force for innovation and change

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

European social dialogue: a force for innovation and change

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 26 June 2002 – European social dialogue, a force for innovation and change [COM(2002) 341 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

The Commission presents a set of guidelines aimed at strengthening the social dialogue, in other words the social partners’ contribution to the work of the public institutions, in order to improve public governance and economic and social reform within the European Union (EU).

Developing the social dialogue within the EU

First, the Commission wishes to increase the consultation of the social partners in the drafting of European legislation. Consulting the social partners is compulsory in the areas of employment and social policy but optional concerning sectoral issues and the transposition of European legislation at national level.

The Commission is keen to extend this consultation to all legislative initiatives having social repercussions. It will also improve the procedures and rules for consultation.

In addition, the effectiveness of the social dialogue is linked to the representativeness of the social partners at European level. The Commission therefore encourages co-operation between national organisations and the improvement of their internal governance.

The social partners are also encouraged to broaden and enhance the social dialogue by concluding more agreements to be integrated into European law and by developing the processes for sectoral and intersectoral dialogue.

The Commission wishes to raise the profile of the results of European social dialogue. For example, it will organise meetings at EU level and within the Member States but will also distribute information by publishing regular reports and setting up a specific Internet site.

Finally, the EU supports the improvement of social dialogue at all levels of governance. The Commission therefore proposes, in particular, to improve training for the European social partners and representatives of national authorities, and to promote local social dialogue and corporate social responsibility.

Contribution to growth and employment

The actions of the social partners contribute to the attainment of the growth and employment goals set by the Lisbon Strategy. These goals are associated in particular with the management of change in the organisation of work, employee training, the promotion of equal opportunities and active ageing policies.

In this context, the Commission will analyse and compare the quality of industrial relations in the various Member States. It also proposes that the social partners should be assisted by Member States and by European financing in the introduction of policies associated with the Lisbon Strategy.

This Communication also proposes to set up a Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment, bringing together the troika of Heads of State or Government, the Commission President and a restricted delegation of social partners.

International co-operation

Countries committed to the EU enlargement process must structure and build the capacities of their organisations of social partners. In this respect, candidate countries may benefit from co-operation with European organisations and from European financing.

In addition, the processes of social dialogue must be encouraged in the context of EU foreign policy. The social partners of the EU and non-Member States may exchange experience and best practice, particularly concerning the countries of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership, the EU Partnership with Latin America, with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, and with the United States and Japan.

Lastly, the European social partners can play a role as experts in the context of multilateral negotiations, particularly within international organisations.

Related Acts

Communication from the Commission of 20 May 1998 adapting and promoting the social dialogue at Community level [COM(98) 322 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 18 September 1996 concerning the Development of the Social Dialogue at Community level [COM(96) 448 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission of 14 December 1993 concerning the application of the Agreement on social policy presented by the Commission to the Council and to the European Parliament [COM(93) 600 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

European Sectoral Dialogue

European Sectoral Dialogue

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about European Sectoral Dialogue

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

European Sectoral Dialogue

Document or Iniciative

Commission Decision 98/500/EC of 20 May 1998 on the establishment of Sectoral Dialogue Committees promoting the Dialogue between the social partners at European level (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

Social dialogue is an essential element of the social model and European governance. Consultation with European social partners contributes to the development of European social policy and the definition of social standards.

Thus, pursuant to Article 152 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Union (EU):

  • recognises and promotes the role of the social partners at European level;
  • facilitates dialogue between the social partners, respecting their autonomy.

According to Article 154 of the TFEU, the Commission consults social partners before submitting legislative proposals in the area of social policy. This consultation aims at guiding EU action and, if the Commission considers it necessary, assessing the content of legislation.

Consultation with European social partners could lead to contractual relations, including agreements, according to the terms of Article 155 of the TFEU.

European sectoral dialogue is led by representatives of European employers and employees, grouped by economic sector of activity. It represents a level of discussion and negotiation that enables a better understanding of the issues facing each sector.

Sectoral dialogue committees

The social partners in an occupational sector may make a joint request to establish a sectoral dialogue committee. These committees shall be consulted on all Community developments which have social implications. They facilitate sectoral social dialogue.

Employers’ organisations and trade unions from the sector must meet certain criteria:

  • they shall relate to specific sectors or categories and be organised at European level;
  • they shall consist of organisations which are themselves a part of Member States’ social partner structures and have the capacity to negotiate agreements, and which are representative of several Member States;
  • they shall have adequate structures to participate in the work of the Committees.

Committees have been established in forty occupational sectors and cover the essential European economic activities (agriculture, fisheries, industry, trade, personal services and services to businesses, banks, postal services, transport, sport, events, audiovisual media, telecommunications, temporary employment, local and regional government, etc.).

Membership and operation

The sectoral dialogue committees meet at least once a year. They are made up of 64 members. They are generally chaired in turn by a trade union or employer representative or, at their request, by a representative of the Commission.

Each committee establishes a work programme in collaboration with the Commission.

Context

The Commission promotes the development of sectoral social dialogue. Thus, the creation of sectoral social dialogue committees followed on from the 1998 Communication “Adapting and promoting the social dialogue at Community level”.

The 2002 Communication on “European social dialogue: a force for innovation and change” has improved the way dialogue structures operate and has made them more representative. In addition, in the 2004 Communication “Partnership for change in an enlarged Europe” the Commission encourages inter-sectoral cooperation and research into synergies at both national and European level.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Decision 98/500/EC

20.5.1998

OJ L 225 of 12.8.1998

Amending acts(s) Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 1792/2006

1.1.2007

OJ L 362 of 20.12.2006

Related Acts

Commission staff working document of 22 July 2010 on the functioning and potential of European sectoral social dialogue [SEC(2010) 964 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission presents an assessment of sectoral social dialogue since 1998. This working document also proposes improvements relating to the scope and quality of the work done in this area.

Teleworking

Teleworking

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Teleworking

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Teleworking

The agreement aims at establishing a general framework at European level concerning the employment conditions of teleworkers and at reconciling the needs for flexibility and security shared by employers and workers. It grants teleworkers the same overall level of protection as workers who carry out their activities at the employer’s premises.

The agreement defines telework as a form of organising and/or performing work, using information technology, in the context of an employment contract/relationship, where work, which could also be performed at the employer’s premises, is carried out away from those premises on a regular basis.

Since telework covers a wide and fast evolving spectrum of circumstances, the social partners have chosen a definition of telework that includes various forms of regular telework.

The agreement focuses on several key areas in which the specific nature of telework must be taken into account, viz:

  • voluntary nature of teleworking: telework is voluntary for the worker and the employer concerned. Telework may be required as part of a worker’s initial job description or it may be engaged in as a voluntary arrangement subsequently. In both cases, the employer provides the teleworker with relevant written information in accordance with Directive 91/533/EEC;
  • employment conditions: teleworkers benefit from the same rights as comparable workers at the employer’s premises. These rights are guaranteed by applicable legislation and collective agreements. In order to take into account the particularities of telework, specific agreements may be necessary;
  • data protection: the employer is responsible for taking the appropriate measures to ensure the protection of data used and processed by the teleworker for professional purposes. The employer informs the teleworker in particular of any restrictions on the use of equipment and of sanctions in the case of non-compliance;
  • privacy: the employer respects the teleworker’s privacy. If any kind of monitoring system is put in place, it needs to be proportionate to the objective and introduced in accordance with Directive 90/270 on visual display units;
  • equipment: as a general rule, the employer is responsible for providing, installing and maintaining the equipment necessary for regular telework unless the teleworker uses his/her own equipment. The employer has the liability, in accordance with national legislation and collective agreements, regarding costs for loss and damage to the equipment and data used by the teleworker;
  • health and safety: the employer is responsible for the protection of the occupational health and safety of the teleworker in accordance with Directive 89/391 and relevant daughter directives, national legislation and collective agreements. In order to verify that the applicable health and safety provisions are correctly employed, the employer, workers’ representatives and/or relevant authorities have access to the telework place, within the limits of national legislation and collective agreements. If the teleworker is working at home, such access is subject to prior notification and his/her agreement. The teleworker is entitled to request inspection visits;
  • organisation of work: within the framework of applicable legislation, collective agreements and company rules, the teleworker manages the organisation of his/her working time. The workload and performance standards of the teleworker are equivalent to those of comparable workers at the employer’s premises;
  • training of teleworkers: teleworkers have the same access to training and career development as comparable workers at the employer’s premises and are subject to the same appraisal policies as these are their workers. Teleworkers receive appropriate training targeted at the technical equipment at their disposal and at the characteristics of this form of work organisation;
  • the collective rights of teleworkers: teleworkers have the same collective rights as workers at the employer’s premises. No obstacles are put to communicating with workers’ representatives.

Implementation and follow-up

This European framework agreement will be implemented within three years after the date of signature by the members of UNICE/UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC (and the Liaison Committee EUROCADRES/CEC).

Member organisations will report on the implementation of this agreement to an ad-hoc group set up by the signatory parties, under the responsibility of the Social Dialogue Committee. Within four years after the date of signature of this agreement, this ad-hoc group will prepare a joint report on the implementation measures taken.

The signatory parties will review the agreement five years after the date of signature if requested by one of the signatory parties.

Context

This new agreement directly supports the strategy defined at the Lisbon European Council and the transition to a knowledge-based economy and society, in line with the Lisbon objectives.

In July 1997, the European Commission adopted a raft of policy recommendations on the labour market and the social dimension of the information society. The recommendations included commitments to promote teleworking in Europe and to study teleworking within the Commission.

In 1998 a pilot project was launched by the Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities and the Directorate-General for the Information Society. It includes three telework types of a part-time nature: working both from home and in the office, working whilst on the move during official missions, and occasional work in another Commission building.

The promotion of telework opportunities is one of the components of the Commission’s proposals for an employment strategy in the information society. The Commission supports the work of the social partners with a view to establishing framework conditions and practical rules so as to allow telework to be introduced on a large scale.

Parental leave and leave for family reasons

Parental leave and leave for family reasons

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Parental leave and leave for family reasons

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These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Parental leave and leave for family reasons

The Directive makes the framework agreement on parental leave concluded between the general cross-industry organisations compulsory. It also asks the Member States to lay down penalties for infringements of national measures taken in implementation of the Directive.

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 96/34/EC of 3 June 1996 on the framework agreement on parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC [Amending acts].

Summary

The framework agreement on parental leave concluded on 14 December 1995 between the general cross-industry organisations (UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC), annexed to the Directive, is made compulsory.

Content of the framework agreement

The framework agreement provides for:

  • male and female workers to have individual entitlement to parental leave on the grounds of the birth or adoption of a child, enabling them to take care of the child for at least three months;
  • the conditions of access to, and procedures for applying, parental leave to be defined by law and/or collective agreement in the Member States, subject to compliance with the minimum requirements of the agreement;
  • the Member States and/or social partners to take the necessary measures to protect workers against dismissal on the grounds of an application for, or the taking of, parental leave;
  • workers to have the right to return to the same job at the end of parental leave or, if that is not possible, to an equivalent or similar job consistent with their employment contract or relationship;
  • the maintenance of rights acquired or in the process of being acquired by the worker on the date on which parental leave starts; at the end of the period of leave, those rights will apply;
  • the Member States and/or the social partners to take the necessary measures to allow workers to take time off from work, in accordance with national legislation, collective agreements and/or practice, for unforeseeable reasons arising from a family emergency in the event of sickness or accident making the immediate presence of the worker indispensable.

More favourable provisions

The Member States may introduce more favourable provisions than those laid down in the Directive.

Implementation of the provisions of the Directive will not in any way constitute sufficient grounds to justify a reduction in the general level of protection afforded to workers in the field covered.

Sanctions

The Member States are to determine the range of penalties applicable for infringements of national provisions pursuant to the Directive, and are to take all the necessary steps to ensure their implementation. The penalties applied must be effective and commensurate with the infringement, and must constitute a sufficient deterrent.

Context

The objective of the Directive is to introduce minimum requirements on parental leave and time off from work on grounds of force majeure. It aims to reconcile occupational and family obligations and to promote equal opportunities and equal treatment for men and women.

This Directive shall be repealed on 8 March 2012. It shall be replaced by Directive 2010/18/EU on the application of the revised framework agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 96/34/EC

3.6.1998

3.6.1998

L 145 of 19.6.1996

Amending acts Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 97/75/EC

15.12.1999

15.12.1999

L 10 du 16.1.1998

Related Acts

Report from the Commission on the implementation of Council Directive 96/34/EC of 3 June 1996 on the framework agreement on parental leave concluded by UNICE, CEEP and the ETUC [COM(2003) 358 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

The Commission describes the situation as regards transposition of Directive 96/34/EC in the Member States, based on information provided by the Member States in accordance with the Directive. The report takes stock of how the Directive has been implemented from the point of view of scope, age of children, length of parental leave and how it is taken, individuality and transferability between the parents, conditions and formalities, restrictions applicable to small firms, protection from dismissal and right to return, employment rights and status of workers on parental leave, and time off on grounds of force majeure.

Parental leave

Parental leave

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Parental leave

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social dialogue and employee participation

Parental leave

Document or Iniciative

Council Directive 2010/18/EU of 8 March 2010 implementing the revised Framework Agreement on parental leave concluded by BUSINESSEUROPE, UEAPME, CEEP and ETUC and repealing Directive 96/34/EC (Text with EEA relevance).

Summary

Workers are entitled to parental leave on the birth or adoption of a child. Such leave may be taken until the child has reached an age determined by national law and/or collective agreements, but before the age of eight.

This Directive applies equally to all workers, men and women, irrespective of their type of employment contract (open-ended, fixed-term, part-time or temporary).

Parental leave shall be granted for at least a period of four months. In principle, workers should be able to take all of their leave. It should therefore not be transferable from one parent to the other. However, such transfers may be authorised on condition that each parent retains at least one of the four months of leave.

Taking of leave

The conditions of access to leave and adaptability of leave shall be defined by national law and/or collective agreements. For example, European Union (EU) States and/or social partners may:

  • adapt leave to the needs of parents and employers, by granting leave on a full-time or part-time basis, in a piecemeal way or in the form of a time-credit system;
  • make this right subject to a length of service qualification which shall not exceed one year. Where appropriate, that period shall be calculated taking account of all of the successive fixed-term contracts concluded with the same employer;
  • authorise the postponement of leave by the employer, for justifiable reasons related to the organisation;
  • authorise special arrangements to ensure the proper operation of small undertakings.

Workers wishing to take parental leave must give notice to the employer. The period of notice shall be specified in each EU country taking into account the interests of workers and of employers.

Each EU country shall also be encouraged to define additional measures and/or the specific conditions for the taking of leave by adoptive parents and parents of children with a disability or a long-term illness.

Return to work and non-discrimination

After taking parental leave, workers shall have the right to return to the same job. If that is not possible, the employer must offer them an equivalent or similar job consistent with their employment contract or employment relationship.

In addition, rights acquired or in the process of being acquired by the worker on the date on which parental leave starts:

  • shall be maintained as they stand until the end of the leave;
  • shall apply at the end of the leave, as shall all changes arising from national law, collective agreements and/or practice.

Similarly, workers shall be protected against less favourable treatment or dismissal on the grounds of an application for, or the taking of, parental leave.

All matters regarding social security and income in relation to parental leave are for determination by EU States and/or national social partners. The Agreement does not therefore contain any stipulations concerning the payment of salary or compensation during parental leave.

Finally, on their return from leave, workers must be able to request changes to their working hours and/or patterns for a set period of time. Employers shall consider and respond to such requests, taking into account both employers’ and workers’ needs.

Leave on grounds of force majeure

Workers may also request leave on grounds of force majeure for family reasons. Such leave may be requested in particular in cases of sickness or accident making the immediate presence of the worker within the family indispensable.

Context

This Directive introduces the revised Framework Agreement concluded by the European social partners on 18 June 2009. This Agreement follows the Framework Agreement of 14 December 1995 on parental leave.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Directive 2010/18/EU

7.4.2010

8.3.2012

OJ L 68 of 18.3.2010

Restructuring and employment: the role of the European Union in anticipating and accompanying restructuring in order to develop employment

Restructuring and employment: the role of the European Union in anticipating and accompanying restructuring in order to develop employment

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Restructuring and employment: the role of the European Union in anticipating and accompanying restructuring in order to develop employment

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Job creation measures

Restructuring and employment: the role of the European Union in anticipating and accompanying restructuring in order to develop employment

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 31 March 2005, Restructuring and employment – anticipating and accompanying restructuring in order to develop employment: the role of the European Union.

Summary

This communication is fully in line with the updated Lisbon Strategy which, in addition to higher and more sustainable growth, focuses on job creation. It proposes measures to respond to the social and economic cost of the restructuring of European enterprises.

THE CURRENT CHALLENGES

It is estimated that, every year, 10% of European enterprises are set up and destroyed. In the light of this, the European Union has long been applying policies and instruments to accompany these developments, in particular in the iron and steel, shipbuilding and textiles sectors. These measures do not relate solely to sectors in difficulty. They may also involve the establishment of strategies for many other sectors.

At enterprise level, restructuring is the permanent reshaping of the fabric of production by several factors:

  • the development of the European Single Market and globalisation have allowed competitiveness to be improved and new, high quality jobs to be created;
  • technological innovation generates new applications which, in turn, lead to more creative, higher-quality jobs;
  • developments in the regulatory framework and significant changes in consumer demand (ageing population and environmental issues) lead to changes in products and labour markets.

From the workers’ point of view, restructuring often puts a large number of people out of work at the same time; often the least qualified and most vulnerable are affected first. Moreover, restructuring is having a major impact in certain European countries that are still in transition.
It is therefore important to help people who have been made unemployed to quickly find new jobs of an equivalent quality and to provide responses for the entire territory of the European Union by anticipating change through proximity to regions and their populations (identification of potential comparative advantages).

THE ROLE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

Although most of the social and economic challenges thrown up by restructuring are matters for the national authorities, the European Union can intervene through:

  • policies which contribute to anticipating and accompanying restructuring (employment policy, financial support instruments, industrial and company policy and rural development policy);
  • the identification of sectoral trends and intervention instruments;
  • recognising the role that the social partners can play in the phase preceding anticipation, and which characterises the change.

COMMUNITY POLICIES IN ACTION

Reform of the financial instruments and the role of the structural funds

The draft new European Social Fund (ESF) regulations reaffirm the latter’s role in funding measures to anticipate and manage restructuring by improving the adaptability of workers and enterprises, investing in human resources and lifelong learning and establishing employment pacts at national, local and regional level.

The European Regional Development Fund will also play a major role, thanks to investment in research and development, dissemination of innovation and the creation of infrastructures.
8. In the area of rural development, the Agriculture and Rural Development Fund should allow sectoral policies (in agriculture, industry, services) and territorial policies (regional, rural, urban, local) to complement each other in order to optimise the impact on employment.

Moreover, the Commission recommends that a contingency reserve for unforeseen events be created within the structural funds and proposes the creation of a growth adjustment fund of one billion euros per year.

Finally, other programmes can contribute to managing change more effectively, for example the research framework programme, the education and training programmes and the integrated lifelong learning programme.

Industrial policy

As part of the implementation of the revamped industrial policy, as set out in the Communication of April 2004, the Commission proposes improving the regulatory framework applicable to companies and supporting innovation and competitiveness. A new communication on the sectoral dimension of industrial policy is to be drafted in 2005. This communication will set out how the Commission intends to monitor more closely the sectors that are at risk.

The Commission is proposing the launch of joint technological initiatives, such as the action plan for ecotechnologies to fund programmes for the development of social products and services, the aim being to create a competitive advantage that will open up new markets and create new jobs.

Competition policy

The Commission is focusing on the strict application of the competition rules, including in the area of state aid, as well as monitoring mergers. It is proposing:

  • a reform of the state aid monitoring policy, encouraging Member States to award aid in sectors contributing most to growth and jobs;
  • a new regulation on mergers in order to facilitate industrial restructuring.

Other policies and instruments

14 .In order to better anticipate and accompany restructuring, the Commission wishes to:

  • improve protection of intellectual property and step up the fight against forgery, and continue to act to ensure that the Doha Round of negotiations on global free trade is a positive factor for development;
  • revise the European Employment Strategy during 2005, in order to focus on the priorities for anticipating and managing restructuring;
  • step up the role of the European Monitoring Centre on Change which will be called on to develop tools for the quantitative and qualitative analysis and monitoring of restructuring;
  • increase the convergence of and synergy between policies by way of an internal task force involving the relevant Commission departments and involving regular dialogue with the European Parliament and the Council.

CONSULTATION OF THE SOCIAL PARTNERS

This Communication launches the second phase of consultation of the European social partners on company restructuring and European works councils. The Commission will be analysing the results of this consultation before the 2006 Tripartite Social Summit.

Two other initiatives are planned:

  • publication of a new communication on the social responsibility of enterprises, showcasing positive initiatives taken by enterprises in the event of restructuring;
  • the creation of a Restructuring Forum, the mission of which will be to monitor trends and promote link-up between the various initiatives.

CHANGING THE REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

This communication recalls the modernisation and simplification measures already provided for in the Lisbon programme of action and recommends the following initiatives:

  • a new Green Paper on labour law development which will analyse the role of labour law in effective transitions;
  • a new proposal for a directive on improving the portability of supplementary pension rights, so as to facilitate the mobility of workers within the Community.
Key statistics
  • Between 1977 and 2002, Europe created 30 million jobs, with an increase of more than 44 million in services and a loss of at least 7 million in industry and 7.5 million in agriculture.
  • Each year, 10% of European enterprises are created and destroyed.
  • Between 5 000 and 15 000 jobs are created and destroyed every day on average in each of the Member States.
  • Employment in the services sector has risen in the past 20 years, employing two out of three people in 2003.
  • Employment in business services has increased by 25% over the last five years.