Skip to content .

Service navigation

Main Navigation


Further information

Link to opens in a new window


Press Releases


Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs at the informal meeting: Flexibility and security are required throughout a person’s lifetime

At their informal meeting, the Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs, within the framework of the concept of flexicurity, devoted special attention to the young and the elderly and to the challenges faced by women in the labour market. Today’s conclusions, which were prepared by Slovenia as the presiding country in cooperation with Portugal and Germany, will serve as a good basis for further work in the field of EU employment and social policy. They are especially important, because we are in the middle of discussions on the next cycle of the Lisbon Strategy, to be adopted by the Spring European Council.

The EU Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs agreed that flexibility and security were required throughout a person's lifetime at every stage of life. Europe needs flexicurity in order to successfully confront the challenges of the twenty-first century, such as demographic change, accelerated technological advancement, the need for heightened competitiveness, and globalisation.

“Every inhabitant of the European Union should be given the possibility and the opportunity to enjoy dignified high-quality life and work. We have to be aware of the fact that a Europe that invests in people is building its future,” emphasised the current President of the EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, Marjeta Cotman, in her presentation.

Flexible labour market arrangements have a considerable impact on disadvantaged groups, such as women, migrants, the young, older workers and especially persons with disabilities.  It is therefore vital to ensure we have a "Europe of equal opportunities for all". It is further necessary to implement gender equality and combat discriminatory practices against disadvantaged groups. This should result from strengthening the fundamental rights of workers, stronger policies of social inclusion and effective strategies for active integration. The principle of equal treatment of women and men in all labour market segments and in labour legislation should be applied. Special attention should be paid to strengthening the commitment to eliminate the gender pay gap between women and men. Measures for the elimination of these gaps should be consolidated in the Lisbon Strategy.

It is also vital to ensure effective investment in human resources for the purpose of sustainable development. Education and training systems which effectively respond to the needs of the labour market, lifelong learning and focused development of employees’ skills should help to achieve this goal.

The Ministers emphasised that responsibility for the practical application of the common principles of flexicurity lies with the Member States. The exchange of good practices and reciprocal learning processes should also be facilitated.


Accessibility     . Print     .

Date: 01.02.2008