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How was political agreement reached on the new EWC Directive at the end of 2008?

  • In order to prevent further delays to the revision of the EWC Directive, overdue since 1999, the ETUC, given the narrow window of opportunity for adoption before the European Parliament elections in spring 2009, declared itself against negotiations within the framework of the Social Dialogue. It was successful, though Businesseurope’s reservations about negotiating on changes to the EWC Directive became visible after the Commission’s proposals were published.
  • In summer 2008, therefore, intensive talks were held and an agreement in principle was reached on further amendments to the Commission proposal. In this way the European social partners, alongside an actively engaged French presidency, contributed substantially to generating the momentum necessary, in view of the intensive struggle behind the scenes and the difficult negotiations in and between the EU institutions, to swing it for this difficult, but heavily symbolic EU dossier wi w thout excessive arguments and long delays.
  • The clear signals from the European Parliament proved very helpful in this respect, as did the clear statements of the European Economic and Social Committee, which – fully in keeping with its previous advocacy of increased EWC rights – called for clear improvements to the Commission’s proposal.
  • And in fact, as early as the first reading in mid-December 2008 the revised EWC Directive was adopted by the European Parliament by a large majority and immediately afterwards almost unanimous agreement was reached in the Council of Ministers. With this, nothing stands in the way of formal enactment of the new EWC Directive in spring 2009.
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