Policy paper

Social Europe: social dialogue at the heart of the debate

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Pochet, P. « Social Europe: social dialogue at the heart of the debate », Policy Brief, Paris : Jacques Delors Institute, January 2024

At the end of her term of office, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has called a European social dialogue summit for the end of January 2024, almost 40 years after the Val Duchesse meeting that launched it. This gives us the opportunity, one month after the death of Jacques Delors, who organised the Val Duchesse meetings on 31 January 1985, to revisit the issues at stake in European social dialogue and, more broadly, the possibility of an integrated, multi- level system of industrial relations from a short- and medium-term perspective.

This policy brief is divided into three parts. First, it recalls the objectives, achievements, and limitations of European social dialogue during its formative period and its “golden age” (1985-2007). This period has also witnessed the emergence of other institutions related to collective bargaining.

Secondly, it highlights the main elements of the crisis that has led to a series of deadlocks over the last 15 years.

Finally, it presents recent trends and suggests pathways to reinvigorate cross-industry and sectoral social dialogue in the coming years. This can only be done by trying to rethink the original project and its limits and to include it in an articulated multi-level system.