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External Relations

Globe on a jigsaw puzzle

The European Commission works with International Organisations and countries to:

  • promote social development beyond the EU's borders
  • promote fair globalisation with a view to contribute to maximising the benefits and minimising the costs of globalisation for all
  • promote effective policies to help ensure that economic and social progress go hand in hand
  • exchange good practice
  • help prepare candidate countries and potential candidates for EU membership.

The European Commission works to ensure that employment and social aspects are taken into account when the EU formulates its overall external policies. Through its trade and development cooperation policies, the Commission focuses in particular on the concepts of sustainable development and decent work.

International organisations and forums

The Commission works with the ILO, OECD, UN as well as with the G20, and other international organisations and forums to:

  • promote the social dimension of globalisation
  • promote decent work for all covering:
    • productive and freely chosen employment
    • rights at work including the core labour standards
    • social protection
    • social dialogue
  • implement the external dimension of the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs.

Prospective new EU members (Enlargement)

The EU seeks to enhance the employment and social policies of all enlargement countries. To this effect, the Commission has a policy dialogue with the countries, and it assesses each year the progress of candidate countries and potential candidates. Negotiations on these issues are conducted with candidate countries, as they move towards the goal of EU membership.

The Commission, in its overall EU Enlargement Strategy 2010-2011, welcomed the intention of many enlargement countries to reflect the Europe 2020 strategy in their national reform priorities.

The Commission works to strengthen human capital and help combat social exclusion in these countries, through measures supported by the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA), in particular its Component IV Human resources development, which helps preparing candidate countries' participation in the EU cohesion policy and the European Social Fund.

Other neighbouring countries

The EU cooperates on employment and social issues with neighbouring countries through the European Neighbourhood Policy and regional initiatives such as:

The European Commission negotiates agreements, holds policy dialogues and exchanges good practices on employment and social matters with the countries concerned.

Developed countries and emerging markets

Cooperation takes the form of:

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