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News>Europe on the right track

Europe on the right track for more growth and jobs
March 8, 2007 - At today's Tripartite Social Summit, Commission President Barroso and German Chancellor Merkel – current President of the European Council – discussed with high-level employers' and workers' representatives progress on the EU's jobs and growth goals. They were joined by the Portuguese and Slovene Prime Ministers – future Presidents of the European Council – and Vladimír Špidla, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The debate focused on promoting knowledge and innovation and making labour markets more adaptable through flexicurity – combining flexibility on the labour market with employment security of workers – and better regulation.

“The European strategy for Jobs and Growth is showing encouraging results. Higher growth rates and lower unemployment are partly due to an economic upturn, but also show the Lisbon reforms are working”, said President Barroso. "Partnership with employers and trade unions at all levels has been critical to this progress. However, efforts cannot slow down now. We must continue our cooperation with social partners, in particular on the flexicurity agenda."

Commissioner Špidla underlined the important role of employers' and workers' representatives. “Flexicurity cannot be achieved without the backing of the social partners, including in the national context. Employers and workers are most affected by the changing realities in our labour market, so we need to be sure that they are on board. A joint contribution from social partners on flexicurity will be crucial to overcome difficulties and make progress in this area.”

European social partners informed the Summit that they are currently carrying out a joint analysis of the key challenges facing Europe's labour markets, including macro-economic policy, contractual arrangements, strategies for getting people into work and lifelong learning. These discussions are very closely linked to the flexicurity approach. The social partners aim to finalise a joint document by April providing substantial and timely input into the Commission's Communication on flexicurity, due in June 2007.

Source: "Europe on the right track for more growth and jobs", Europa, March 8, 2007


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