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The European social partners have used a wide variety of tools in recent years. Below may be found an overview of the different tools and their functions.

Framework agreements

Framework agreements are negotiated between the social partners at European level, and are contractually binding on the signatory parties and their members. They are either transposed via a European Directive, in which case the responsibility for implementation lies with the Member States, or they are transposed by the social partners at national level, who have an obligation for such transposition, while the signatory parties have an obligation to influence their members.

Framework of action

In the frameworks of action the European social partners identify certain policy priorities. The member organisations of the signatory parties promote and implement the framework at the appropriate levels. These priorities serve as benchmarks and the social partners report, in principle, annually on the action taken to follow up these texts.

Guidelines, codes of conduct, joint opinions, declarations

“Softer” forms of texts of the European social partners for the purpose of flagging their intentions in a certain policy field or providing input in the European institutions and/or national public authorities.


For information on how the different tools have been used click here.