CEEP organised this Friday 29 March, together with UDES, the Third Round Table Meeting in the framework of the European Commission’s co-financed project “Social Services in European cross-industry social dialogue: towards a strong and deeper involvement”.

The project will increase the profile of social services at the European level within the remit of social dialogue. By collecting key information in 6 EU Member States (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and Romania), this project has the objective of improving the knowledge of social services providers when it comes to social dialogue at national level and to promote their better inclusion within the existing structures of social dialogue. The goals of the project are, therefore, not only to raise awareness about the importance of social services in social dialogue at European and national level, but also to create a long-standing network of social services active within the social dialogue.

The Third Round Table Meeting in Paris involved the relevant social services’ providers in Bulgaria and Malta in the discussions on the role of social services in the European cross-industry social dialogue. The meeting was opened by the host, MP Sarah El Hairy, Deputy representing MoDem and the department of Loire-Atlantique in the French National Assembly. During the meeting, the objectives and the structure of the project were presented and a general introduction to CEEP and the European cross-industry social dialogue was given by CEEP General Secretary Valeria Ronzitti.

During the discussion, the participants exchanged views and practices regarding the difficulties in establishing social dialogue in the different countries. An important question that was posed was whether it is possible to foster social dialogue and achieve recognition from the governments. The participants discussed not only the obstacles and challenges in doing this but also how their organisations managed to get recognised by their government.

The Draft Intermediate Report, which was presented by WMP expert Eckhard Voss, illustrated the role of public and private providers in the 6 examined countries. Despite the fact that there is a mixture of private and public providers, in these countries for-profit providers are on the rise and play an increasing role. The main challenges identified by the Report included the investment in social protection, education and healthcare; the quality and efficiency of healthcare and medical services; the fight against social exclusion; and the understaffing and education and training.

Regarding the role of social dialogue in Social Services of General Interest (SSGIs), it was demonstrated that there is a lack of employer organisations in SSGIs, that social enterprises do not play a significant role and that national governments are the main counterpart to trade unions when it comes to bargaining.

The Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, together with representatives of the Foundation for Social Welfare Services and the Ministry for Social Policy provided an outlook into the representation of social services in Malta. In addition, experts from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences presented the national social dialogue and the structure of SSGIs in Bulgaria.

The Technical Training Course will be held on 15 and 16 May 2019 in Brussels and is organised by CEEP. The target countries for this meeting will be the 6 Countries that are the project’s focus (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Lithuania, Malta and Romania). Should you wish to register, do not hesitate to contact CEEP Project Officer Carlotta Astori.

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