CEEP organised last Tuesday 18 December, together with ALAL (Association of Local Authorities in Lithuania), the second roundtable 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 aims to 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 aims at 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 Second Round Table Meeting in Vilnius involved the relevant social services’ providers in Hungary and Lithuania in the discussions on the role of social services in the European cross-industry social dialogue. 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. Even though 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.

Ms Guoda Vaičekauskaitė and Ms Aušra Bagdonaitė from the Ministry of Social Security and Labour of the Republic of Lithuania provided an outlook into the representation of social services in Lithuania. In addition, Ms Ieva Andriulaitytė, ALAL Head of Brussels Office, and Ms Elma Paulauskaite, Policy Impact Lab Research Manager, presented the national social dialogue and the structure of SSGIs in Lithuania.

The Third Round Table Meeting will be held on 29 March in Paris and is organised by CEEP and UDES. The target countries for this meeting are Bulgaria and Malta. Should you wish to register, do not hesitate to contact CEEP Project Officer Carlotta Astori.

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