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Statements in International Organisations


INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION: 301st Session of the Governing Body (6 – 20 March 2008, Geneva)

Working Party on the Social Dimension of Globalization - Current prospects and policies for decent work: The challenge of multilateral cooperation and policy coherence for fair globalization

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Statement by the Representative of the Republic of Slovenia on behalf of the European Union

Mr. Chairman,

I have the honour to speak on behalf of the European Union. The Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* , the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Armenia align themselves with this declaration.

  1. The EU appreciates the preparation of the document which analyses the current state of the global economy and respective regions as well as provides an overview of the related policies, policy responses and possible contributions of the ILO on these topics.
  2. The EU welcomes the intervention of World Bank President Mr. Zoellick. The EU would like to highlight the importance of the continuation of high-level multilateral cooperation between international organisations. The EU also highlights the importance of high level inter-organisational and multilateral dialogue within the WP SDG that has been started last year in March by the panel discussion on the joint WTO/ILO study on trade and employment.
  3. Globalisation can both generate and reduce social and economic imbalances within and between countries. It is a matter of concern to the EU that effective policies are implemented to capitalise on the opportunities and address the challenges of globalisation.
  4. The EU believes that the current global economic and financial imbalances do represent a real risk to a highly globalised world and could result in economic and social costs. It is important that these imbalances are addressed. Improving transparency of financial markets is an important policy goal.
  5. The EU believes that in order to meet the challenges and opportunities resulting from globalisation it is essential to pursue a strategy with an integrated approach between employment, social, macro- economic and micro- economic strands. Coordinated policies, at all levels, must be geared towards ensuring macro-economic stability and social cohesion taking up the opportunities of globalisation and addressing the challenges ahead including ageing populations, climate changes and energy.
  6. The EU welcomes the February 2008 outcome of the UN Commission for Social Development (CSocD) on promoting full employment and decent work for all. It highlighted that full and productive employment and decent work for all are key elements of sustainable development for all countries and should therefore be a priority objective of domestic policies and international cooperation. It also encourages all parties of the UN system to collaborate in using, adapting and evaluating the application of the toolkit for mainstreaming employment and decent work. In this respect the EU would like to emphasize the central role of the UN in the multilateral system.
  7. EU recalls that the ECOSOC Ministerial meeting also highlighted the importance of cooperation between ILO and other relevant international organisations such as the World Bank. In the context of globalisation it is of particular importance that governments and relevant entities develop systems of social protection and to extend their effectiveness and coverage including for workers in the informal economy. The EU invites the ILO to strengthen its social protection strategies and policies on extending social security coverage.
  8. As to the basic social security floor which is implicitly taken into consideration in paragraph 42, 43 and 44 of the document before us, we also bear in mind the CSocD outcomes and the ILO contributions in the main international discussions where it was stated that social protection is an investment in a country's future and a cost-effective way of fighting poverty and that this approach had to be kept on the international agenda. We therefore call again for strengthening international and multilateral cooperation, particularly with the ILO, so as to support countries to develop minimum social security systems taking into account the different stages of development of countries and leading towards a basic social security floor. The latter – at least at poverty level – consists in providing adequate measures to guarantee basic health and social care and basic income.
  9. In response to the ILO suggestion on national reviews of economic prospects and their implications for decent work, we agree this could serve as a possible encouragement and would support implementation of related policies at national levels. We therefore encourage countries to consider using this element in their existing structures and consultations.
  10. The EU emphasises the importance of social partners and other stakeholders in the preparation and implementation of coherent policies.
  11. Good labour market performance is one of the key issues contributing to sustainable development and economic growth. The EU answer is the flexicurity concept encompassing an integrated approach combining flexibility and security. Flexicurity involves the deliberate combination of flexible and reliable contractual arrangements, comprehensive lifelong learning strategies, effective active labour market policies, and modern, adequate and sustainable social protection systems. While public authorities retain an overall responsibility, the involvement of social partners in the design and implementation of flexicurity policies through social dialogue and collective bargaining is of crucial importance.
  12. The EU Lisbon Strategy for growth and jobs aims at promoting mutually reinforcing economic, employment, social and environmental policy objectives. Combining economic competitiveness and social justice is at the heart of the European model of sustainable development. The internal and external dimensions of the Lisbon strategy are useful tools in meeting many of the challenges of globalisation. The creation of more and better jobs and promoting social cohesion are "an essential prerequisite if the world is to develop in the direction of social justice".
  13. The EU notes that the report lacks an important aspect of globalisation that is the aspect of migration, particularly labour migration. In the era of globalisation migration is a challenge, as stated in the Council Conclusions of December 2007.

Finally Mr. Chairman the EU will continue with its endeavours to shape globalisation by reinforcing the external dimension of the renewed Lisbon strategy as a part of the mobilisation of its external policies and actions.

[1]* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.


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Date: 15.04.2008