The negotiation track of the European Union was established by the Social Protocol attached to the Maastricht Treaty of 1993 and was designed to extend the social dialogue between business and labour. Under the procedure, the social partners can negotiate framework agreements on aspects of employment, which can subsequently be adopted as legally binding directives by the Council of Ministers. To date, the social procedure has resulted in directives on parental leave, part-time work, and fixed-term contracts. If the social partners decline to negotiate or fail to reach agreement, then the European Commission remains free to propose legislation directly to the Council of Ministers under the ‘legislative track’.
Subjects: Human Resource Management.