Economic and social councils, the institutionalised platforms for social and civic dialogue in the European Union and in most of its Member States, show a broad range of diversity – in set-up, composition and name. This patchwork of practices seems to stem from political, social and economic traditions in the various countries. Another source of variation is the opinion on who is considered a social partner and on how they should be represented in an institutionalised platform.In this report 21 national social and economic councils have been examined. This concerns Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain.In first instance, these national social and economic councils have been analysed on their mission and approach. Secondly, there has been an identification of the membership and representation in the different councils and the position of NGOs or representative groupings as a full member. At last, there has been an assessment of the role and implication of NGO in the programming of European Structural Funds on a national level.
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