The Tripartite Social Summit (TSS) is scheduled to take place on 23 March 2006, i.e. on the first day of the European Council meeting. The main task of the TSS is to ensure continuous concertation between the Council, Commission and the social partners, primarily in the field of employment policy, economic policy and social protection. The Commission has now presented its progress report under the re-launched Lisbon strategy, which analyses the Member States’ national reform programmes and proposes priority actions. The European Council will discuss a number of priority measures at its spring summit. These measures will also be the main focus of the TSS. Full implementation of this agenda calls for an active contribution by all the parties, in particular the social partners.
- The Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment was set up by a Council Decision of 6 March 2003 following the proposal by the social partners in their contribution for the Laeken European Council (December 2001) to replace the Standing Committee on Employment by a social summit.
- The TSS is convened by the joint chairs (President of the Council and President of the Commission) in consultation with the social partners.
- The employee and employer representatives normally prepare a joint position paper for the spring summit. This work is coordinated by their umbrella organisations, the ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation) and UNICE (Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe).
- Council Presidency-in-office and the two subsequent Presidencies, represented by the Heads of State or Government; the President of the Council and President of the Commission act as joint chair;
- Commission President, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs;
- Social partners: ten representatives of employee and of employer organisations; technical coordination provided by the ETUC and UNICE; the latter have to take the views expressed by the specific and sectoral organisations into account and may, where appropriate, include representatives from some of those organisations in their delegations. UNICE designates the representatives from the Troika countries as vice-chairs — e.g. Veit Sorger, the President of the Industrialists Association, took part in the 2005 spring summit as Vice-President of UNICE;
- Ministers of the Troika (Austria, Finland, Germany) responsible for employment and social affairs;
- Depending on the agenda, other ministers from these three Presidencies and other Commissioners may also be invited to take part.