"All types of negotiation, consultation or […] exchange of information between, or among, representatives of governments, employers and workers, on issues of common interest relating to economic and social policy."
(International Labour Organization - ILO, Social dialogue, 2009, visited 2010-11-10)
The main goal of social dialogue is to promote consensus building and democratic involvement among the main stakeholders in the world of work. It is an instrument that promotes better corporate and public governance as well as effective social and economic reforms.
Social dialogue has many forms. It can be a tripartite process that includes the government, or it may consist of bipartite relations between labour and management, with or without indirect government involvement. Concertation can be informal or institutionalized, and take place at the national, regional or at company level. It can be inter-professional, sectoral or a combination of all of these.
The European Social Summit is held annually in order to promote social dialogue between different partners (unions, employers and government officials).