EconomyEuropeTechnology

‘Flexicurity’ key to future of EU, says expert

The European Union needs ‘flexicurity' – a balance of labour market flexibility and social security – to be competitive and face up to the challenges of enlargement.

Speaking at the launch of a new study by the World Bank and the Bertelsmann Foundation, experts from the and candidate countries said that European governments should engage citizens in the process of reinventing their approach to the labour market and social issues in order to ease the fears of their people and counteract the rising voice of the extreme right.

“We should create some kind of flexicurity model: this means flexibility after social dialogue,” Poland's ex-Labour Minister Michal Boni, co-author of Labour, and social policies in the EU enlargement process, told the forum organised by the European Policy Centre. Boni also argued that promoting labour mobility was essential, not only in candidate countries, but across the EU to ensure the proper matching of skills and people to enhance the competitiveness of the European .

Rita Suessmuth, former leader of the German Bundestag and also a co-author of the book, suggested that current EU members had to overcome their fears of being overrun by cheap labour and recognise the benefits of migration as a dynamo for economic growth and a catalyst for the prosperity necessary to sustain the social security system. “We have to have a minimum of coordination in Europe and to admit that migration is more of an added value than a burden,” Suessmuth noted.

The German academic also suggested that governments abandon addressing issues of migration and employment on a national level and work, through dialogue with their citizens, towards promoting a pan-European approach to these common challenges, which protects workers against the vulnerabilities of a flexible labour policy.

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The experts also recommended higher investment in education and retraining to meet the employment shortage in the knowledge sector in both member and candidate countries. In addition, Boni suggested reduced working hours, job-sharing, telecommuting and investment in the social sector to counteract technological displacement in the slowing manufacturing and services sector.

________
 This article appeared in the 2 May 2002 issue of European Voice.

Author

  • Khaled Diab

    Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual . Khaled Diab is the author of two books: for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil . Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by , Khaled's life has been divided between the and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in , on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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Khaled Diab

Khaled Diab is an award-winning journalist, blogger and writer who has been based in Tunis, Jerusalem, Brussels, Geneva and Cairo. Khaled also gives talks and is regularly interviewed by the print and audiovisual media. Khaled Diab is the author of two books: Islam for the Politically Incorrect (2017) and Intimate Enemies: Living with Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land (2014). In 2014, the Anna Lindh Foundation awarded Khaled its Mediterranean Journalist Award in the press category. This website, The Chronikler, won the 2012 Best of the Blogs (BOBs) for the best English-language blog. Khaled was longlisted for the Orwell journalism prize in 2020. In addition, Khaled works as communications director for an environmental NGO based in Brussels. He has also worked as a communications consultant to intergovernmental organisations, such as the EU and the UN, as well as civil society. Khaled lives with his beautiful and brilliant wife, Katleen, who works in humanitarian aid. The foursome is completed by Iskander, their smart, creative and artistic son, and Sky, their mischievous and footballing cat. Egyptian by birth, Khaled’s life has been divided between the Middle East and Europe. He grew up in Egypt and the UK, and has lived in Belgium, on and off, since 2001. He holds dual Egyptian-Belgian nationality.

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