- The UfM promotes social dialogue between representatives of employers, workers and governments as a prerequisite to meaningful post-pandemic recovery in the region.
- With the economic difficulties facing private sector worldwide, and the slowing of employment and labour progress caused by the pandemic, there is a risk of neglecting such social dialogues in the short term.
- Enhancing the skills of the workforce must be a critical part of effective dialogue between all parties involved.
Barcelona, 8 July 2021. The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) today held a conference on “Social Dialogue with Social Partners” together with BUSINESSMED, the European Training Foundation (ETF), and the German Development Cooperation, with the support of the European Commission.
The conference focused on enhancing skills for better employability, and follows up the UfM Social Dialogue Forum held on 6-7 October 2020, which reinforced the UfM’s commitment to addressing social development matters collectively, paying particular attention to including social partners of the region such as trade unions and employer organisations.
The 2020 Forum following on from the 2019 Cascais UfM Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labor and the 2016 Jordan Declaration defined four priority areas for efficient labor market policies in the region: employment creation and entrepreneurship; stakeholders and funding partners’ engagement; more inclusive labor markets; and skills and employability.
The EU Joint Communication on a “Renewed Partnership with the Southern Neighbourhood” adopted in February 2021 proposes a new, ambitious and innovative Agenda, addressing the governance, socio-economic, climate, environmental and security challenges faced by the Mediterranean region. Under this new Agenda, the EU highlights the key role social partners play as interlocutors, and proposes working together to support systems and recovery strategies that prioritise social dialogue. Moreover, opportunities to upskill and reskill should be an integral part of the recovery.
Driven by the belief that efficient social dialogue can be a powerful instrument to support decisions and an integral part of solutions, this virtual conference saw discussions and exchanges aimed at providing an opportunity to build on past efforts towards more inclusive social policies and solutions to labour market issues including skills gaps. The overall objective was to deliver concrete recommendations to feed into the UfM Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labour set to take place in 2022.