Val Duchesse Summit towards the social dialogue

Trade unions and employers agreed yesterday on measures to end the deadlock in European social dialogue and better tackle common challenges such as climate change and digitalisation.

Plans to strengthen cooperation, set out in a declaration agreed yesterday at the Val Duchesse summit, include the appointment of a social dialogue envoy within the European Commission. The envoy will promote social dialogue at national and European level, as well as respond to failures of social dialogue that are jointly highlighted by the social partners through a new alert system.

This new post is being created in an effort to return to the vision of European social dialogue formulated by Jacques Delors at the first social summit in Val Duchesse, held on this date in 1985.

Pact for social dialogue

Last year in June, three European employers’ organisations signed a social dialogue work programme with the ETUC, which included a commitment to negotiate a legally binding agreement on remote working, to be implemented in the form of a directive. However, after more than a year of negotiations, two of the three employers’ organisations refused to submit any text.

The summit convened by Jacques Delors in 1985 marked the end of similar difficulties in social dialogue. It launched a process that resulted in the first joint positions between unions and employers.

Yesterday, unions and employers agreed to hold a series of meetings to agree on what further measures are needed to strengthen social dialogue, with a view to concluding a Pact for Social Dialogue in early 2025.