Magazine article European Social Policy

Social Partners: Unions, Employers and Ngos Favour 'Flexicurity' Concept

Magazine article European Social Policy

Social Partners: Unions, Employers and Ngos Favour 'Flexicurity' Concept

Article excerpt

Austrian Social Affairs Minister Ursula Haubner said "the positive start to these discussions sends a clear message that important processes for a partnership on the broadest possible basis have been set in motion under the Austrian Presidency". She pointed out that the involvement of the NGOs set a clear example. For Mrs Haubner, securing pensions in the long term, combating poverty and health care are the key objectives. But she added that "Europe should not be content with making a declaration of intent, but our plans should also have a tangible effect. Today we have done some good ground work for this".

"A high degree of consensus was in evidence at todays meeting. We agree on the objectives for a social Europe. These are growth and jobs, and flexibility through security. We did not only agree on the objectives, however, but also on the way to achieve themo, explained Austria's Minister for the Economy and Labour, Martin Bartenstein, after the discussions with European social partners and the social platform. He also invited the unions, employers and public enterprises to a meeting on March 9 in the run-up to the Council meeting on March 10 and 13, while insisting on the importance of including social partners in the decision-making process at a European level. The invitation received a positive response.

The minister went on to say that the involvement of employee and employer organisations would boost the chances of making progress in matters such as the Services and the Working Time Directives. He added that he was optimistic that the Employment and Social Affairs Council and the Competitiveness Council in March would deliver tangible progress both for Directives. Furthermore, the minister stressed the need to break the current deadlock surrounding the subject of working time of temporary workers. …

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