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A reappraisial of Europe’s social model

Seminar on trends in industrial relations in the countries of the European Union, organised in collaboration with the Luxembourg Institute of European and International Studies.



On September 11th 1997, our Research and Policy Group, in partnership with the Luxembourg Institute of European and International Affairs, held its third seminar on a subject topical at both national and European levels. It involved around thirty personalities – employers, trades unions, academics and politicians – reflecting on the evolution of industrial relations in the European Union, what some call social relations, or social dialogue; in other words, relations between unions, employers and the state in an ever-changing world.

How can the system of industrial relations help resolve today’s economic and social problems ? What is the role of the social partners in dealing with employment ? What can we expect from a social dialogue and the beginnings of a system of industrial relations on a European scale ? Such were the main questions addressed. The debate, opened by the Dutch Minister for Social Affairs and Employment, Mr. Melkert, and concluded by the Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Mr. Juncker, was also dominated by the prospect of the European Summit on Employment of this November. Perhaps this abridged verbatim report of the proceedings will be able to make a modest contribution to the preparations. Beyond this event, it is necessary to continue to reflect on this subject so central to the future of the “European social model”.