The Tripartite Social Summit
What is it?
The Tripartite Social Summit aims to ensure the effective participation of the social partners in implementing the EU’s economic and social policies. With the coming into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the role of the European social partners is reinforced, in particular the recognition of the Tripartite Social Summit (article 152 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU). 
The European Union will never achieve its ambitious economic and employment objectives without the active participation of workers and employers. So, to secure the involvement of these social partners, in 2002 the European Commission proposed setting up a `Tripartite Social Summit´ to assist in implementing the economic and social policies of the EU. The meeting takes place at least once a year, on the eve of the spring European Council meeting.
In 2000, heads of state and government launched the Lisbon Strategy, aimed at making the EU “the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world” by 2010. The Tripartite Social Summit is designed to allow the European social partners to make a bigger contribution to this strategy, and get their voices heard at the highest level of EU decision-making. In this way, they have a role in improving economic and social policies and monitoring progress.
The EU recognises the social partners’ crucial role in modernisation and managing change at all levels. The participants in the Tripartite Social Summit are:
Social partners: ETUC, BUSINESSEUROPE (private employers), UEAPME (small businesses), CEEP (public employers),
Heads of government of the current and two subsequent EU Presidencies,
The Presidency of the European Council.
The first official Tripartite Social Summit was held in March 2003 under the Greek EU Presidency. But three ‘unofficial’ social summits had already taken place before that: March 2001 in Stockholm; December 2001 in Laeken, Belgium; March 2002 in Barcelona.
Since then, the Tripartite Social Summit has always taken place just before the spring Summit. Other Tripartite Social Summits can be called together in extraordinary cases, at other moments of the year.
For more information contact:
Patricia Grillo, Head of Communications,
Tel. +32 (0)2 224 0430, Mobile: +32 (0)477 770164,
 The Union recognises and promotes the role of the social partners at its level, taking into account the diversity of national systems. It shall facilitate dialogue between the social partners, respecting their autonomy. The Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment shall contribute to social dialogue. .
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