Government sources note impact of PM’s initiatives for ‘social’ Europe

The preservation of the European Union’s social model and respect for the European social and labour acquis in all member-states was an issue that Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras raised with emphasis during the Rome anniversary summit, government sources said on Saturday.

Focusing on the need to restore collective bargaining in Greece and to end a “state of exception” from the social model for the country, the prime minister succeeded in highlighting the importance of protecting labour relations for all of Europe and its citizens, the sources said.

Among the Greek premier’s successes, they added, was the retention of a reference to social Europe in the Rome Declaration, over the objections of many member-states, and the addition of a special reference to fighting unemployment that was missing from the initial drafts.

The sources also highlighted the impact of Tsipras’ letter to the heads of European institutions and EU leaders, sent on Thursday evening, on putting the social acquis back in Europe’s agenda. This prompted a series of statements of support, the pointed out, including that of the summit’s chair, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and his co-chair, Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, references made by European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk to EU best practices in labour relations, as well as the unanimous support of the Party of European Socialists (PES) to Greece’s demand to restore collective bargaining.

“The struggle for Europe’s return to its ‘social face’ continues,” the government source said.