ETUCE welcomes Val Duchesse Summit on social dialogue 

Credit CC-BY-4.0 © European Union 2019 – Source EP
Credit CC-BY-4.0 © European Union 2019 – Source EP

The European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) welcomes the announcement of a new Val Duchesse summit on social dialogue. It was announced on 13 September 2023 during State of the Union by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. This initiative harkens back to the visionary leadership of Jacques Delors, who convened the original Val Duchesse meeting almost forty years ago. It is a testament to the enduring importance of social dialogue in shaping the European Union. While we applaud this initiative, ETUCE also emphasises the crucial need for sectoral social partners to be actively involved in the summit's discussions. 

Ursula von der Leyen said " (…)We should rely on the expertise of businesses and trade unions, our collective bargaining partners," echoes the sentiment that has guided the European Union’s progress and prosperity, and supported recovery from the crisis in the past decades. Social partners have played an indispensable role in addressing the challenges facing the labour market, from skill shortages to the transformative impact of artificial intelligence. Their expertise and representativeness are invaluable assets that must not be overlooked”. 

Sectoral social partners are uniquely positioned to provide insights and solutions tailored to the specific needs and circumstances of their respective industries. Their involvement ensures that the voices of millions of European workers are heard and that policies and initiatives are both effective and equitable. 

Now it is more critical than ever to place social partners at the centre of future EU endeavours.  

The European Union’s commitment to addressing labour market challenges and fostering a sustainable, inclusive future must be strengthened by including sectoral social partners in the discussions at Val Duchesse. 

ETUCE is ready to collaborate with the Belgian Presidency and all relevant stakeholders to ensure that the upcoming Social Partner Summit embraces the expertise and representativeness of sectoral social partners. We firmly believe that the future of Europe will be built not just with but also by our social partners. They have consistently demonstrated their dedication to improving the lives of European workers. 

In conclusion, while celebrating the revival of the Val Duchesse summit, we urge the European Commission to make sectoral social partner involvement a priority. Together, we can shape a more resilient, prosperous, and equitable European Union that truly represents the interests of all its workers.