par Planet Labor
For the first time, the Employment and Labor Ministers of the Euro-Mediterranean partner countries (43 countries) gathered for a ministerial conference in Marrakech on November 9-10, as part of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean. The Ministers set the bases for a "framework of action" which would help "bring a true social dimension into the Euro-Mediterranean project" as well as stronger social dialogue.
"Faced with their coming joint challenges (demographic growth, an ageing population, job creation, modernization of the labor markets, maintaining a high level of social protection, passing knowledge and education on…) the 43 States on both sides of the Mediterranean decided, as part of the Barcelona Process: Union for the Mediterranean, to develop a "joint framework of action" explained the French Minister of Labor.
Framework of action. This framework will enable, during the next meeting of the Euro-Mediterranean Employment and Labor Ministers, at the end of 2010, to evaluate the progress made. The Ministers pointed to the "added value of the regional collaboration between the partner countries in terms of employment, employability and decent labor, as well as the lessons all can learn from the others’ experiences and best practices." To that end, the Ministers are in favor of a framework of action which every partner has to clarify and implement. This framework will come with an exchange and follow-up system run by the "Euro-Mediterranean work group on employment and labor" created for the conference.
Social dialogue forum. The social partners and States present also agreed to create a social dialogue forum to "involve all role-players into the plans and reforms of the Mediterranean Union. This platform will be a full dialogue structure enabling to fuel the debates on common stakes such as employment and labor between European and Mediterranean countries." At the beginning of the meeting, the Ministers spoke with senior representatives of the social partners whose role "in the management of economic change in the region" was acknowledged.
Strengthen social dialogue. In the meantime, "it is important to strengthen the effort made concerning bipartite dialogue between employers and unions to improve their contribution to the management of economic and social changes." In many partner countries, "it was necessary to strengthen social partners’ abilities," especially by intensifying "cooperation between the social partners of the Euro-Mediterranean region."
Social responsibility. The Ministers called on businesses and investors to help with "the implementation of the framework of action by encouraging corporate social responsibility in view of concretely strengthening labor standards as well as sustainable development in the Euro-Mediterranean region."
Planet Labor, November 14, 2008, No. 080896 – www.planetlabor.com