European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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European sectoral social dialogue

The European sectoral social dialogue underwent a major development in 1998 when the Commission decided to set up sectoral dialogue committees to promote the dialogue between industry social partners at European level (Commission Decision of 20 May 1998 – 98/500/EC).

The recent Commission Staff Working Document on the functioning and potential of the European sectoral social dialogue (SEC(2010) 964 final of 22 July 2010; available in different languages at ec.europa.eu) reports that 40 committees have been set up so far, and a further three (ports, agrifood and sports) will be established in 2011 or 2012. The committees cover almost 145 million employees, i.e., more than three-quarters of the European workforce. They have adopted more than 500 texts of various kinds, including agreements to be implemented in the Member States either through European directives or customary national procedures.