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European Social Partners Agree To Focus On Growth, Jobs, Strong Investments

The European social partners (ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE, CEEP and UEAPME) agreed on the need for an urgent focus on growth and jobs and strong investments to support recovery.

During their meeting preceding European Union summit in Brussels on Thursday, the European social partners presented their joint work program for 2012-2014, which includes, among others, a joint work on youth employment and an in-depth employment analysis of the issue, life long learning and the economic and social governance of the EU. They also called for their active involvement in the implementation of national reform plans and in EU governance as a whole.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt - whose country holds the European Council Presidency - met at the Tripartite Social Summit with European workers' and employers' representatives.

The Summit focused, in particular, on the social partners' key role in EU governance and their important contribution to restoring jobs and growth. Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, Cypriot Labor Minister Sotiroula Charalambous, and EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor also contributed to the debate.

Barroso said the Commission's priority is to restore growth and jobs. "Social dialogue remains a core element of the European social model. While fair fiscal consolidation measures are needed to set a solid basis for future actions to revive the European economy and increase competitiveness, Europe also needs an ambitious agenda for growth and jobs. The activation of young people on the labor market is an essential element in our efforts to ensure future growth. Trade unions and in particular businesses and employers' organizations can make an important contribution," he added.

Emphasizing the role of the European social partners, Andor said "Social partners must be involved in the EU governance. The EU's employment target of 75% by 2020 is clear so measures targeting employment have to be everyone's top priority, and we will only succeed if we coordinate European and national efforts".

The Tripartite Social Summit meets twice a year, ahead of the spring and autumn European Councils. It is an important opportunity for an exchange of views between the social partners, the Commission and the heads of government and employment ministers of the current and subsequent two Council Presidencies.

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