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Press Release
Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment

Date of release : 22-03-2005

Policy area : Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

Event : Tripartite Social Summit

At the initiative of the Luxembourg Presidency, a Tripartite Social Summit was held in Brussels on 22 March 2005. During the summit, a delegation of the European Union led by Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, discussed recentering the Lisbon Strategy with the European social partners: assimilation of the strategy into the national plan, the role of the social partners in improving governance and the solid involvement of Lisbon in the national action plans.

During the conference following the Social Summit, Prime Minister Juncker expressed his satisfaction at having been able to make the agreement of the social partners on the general approach chosen by the Presidency the basis for the communication of the Commission. "The Lisbon Strategy is still on the agenda. Its successes have been partial and qualified. Consequently, Lisbon must be relaunched by recentering it on the problems of competitiveness and growth without endangering the general balance that was part of the Lisbon Strategy when it was launched in March 2000. The task of the 25 is to strengthen the competitiveness of the European economy, to put an end to the pause in growth which has already gone on too long, and to ensure that competitiveness and growth serve a balance between social cohesion and environmental policy. There was a great deal of agreement among the participants in the meeting on the elements to be proposed on the governance of the Lisbon Process, and general agreement on the necessity of strengthening national involvement in the Lisbon Strategy through the more consistent involvement of the social partners, both at the European level and at the national level. I noted with undeniable satisfaction that the agreement reached between the Ministers for Finance on the Stability Pact wasn't  equally well received on both sides of the hall, but well received nonetheless."

In response to a question on the public discussion, where a link has been established between the European Constitution and the "Bolkestein" directive, Jean-Claude Juncker responded that "no one will be able to say that there is no need for us to open the services sector, which makes up 70 per cent of added value of the European economy. However, certain sensitive issues must be respected during this opening, and it certainly should not be done in such a way that employees and workers feel threatened. If France wishes to eliminate the risk of social dumping, this will be addressed in the framework of the legislative procedure and of codecision, which has been initiated. Those who say that no change to the directive cannot be supported are wrong. We will not approve the directive in its current form. The Commission wants to reconsider certain elements. These issues must be debated calmly if we want to do solid legislative work. The "Bolkestein" directive is not the Constitution."

This page was last modified on : 22-03-2005

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