The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolánek – representing the Council Presidency – met the European social partners to discuss the social impact of the crisis, and how to prepare the May summit.
The Tripartite Social Summit showed a clear consensus on the urgent need for coordinated action at European level to complement and support actions at Member State level, together with a rejection of protectionist measures. Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, and the Swedish and Spanish Prime Ministers, Fredrik Reinfeldt and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, were also present.
The Commission and the social partners agreed on the need to modernise the European model, in order to preserve its values and to maintain the level of prosperity, social cohesion, environmental protection and the quality of life in Europe.
Agreement was also reached on launching a consultation process to prepare the May Summit. It will include holding three seminars, with the participation of social partners and the relevant national authorities, between now and May in the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain focussing on three key issues, respectively mobility, access to employment and skills.
The Tripartite Social Summit is held at least once a year, before the European Council meeting in Spring, to allow an exchange of views by the social partners, the European Commission and the prime ministers and employment ministers of the Troika (which comprises the Member State holding the Presidency of the European Council and the next two States which will succeed it). The Summit agenda always closely follows the agenda for the Spring European Council meeting.