SZW krant

SZW krant

Presidency report of activitiesA SOCIAL EUROPERESPONSIVE TO CHANGEIt is time for actionIntroductionNext year, a new Social Policy Agenda willbe discussed on the basis of aCommission Communication. This coincideswith the Mid Term Review of theLisbon Strategy. During the 2nd half of2004, a survey was undertaken of themain challenges, opportunities and pathwaysfor action in the area of social policyand employment. A start has beenmade at the Informal Council ofMinisters of Employment and SocialAffairs in Maastricht (8-10th of July).Since then, a number of events and conferenceswere organised jointly by theDutch Presidency and the EuropeanCommission on all areas of social policy.This culminated in the ClosingConference “Social Policy in Europe: let’sdeliver”, held in Rotterdam on November8-9th. A very large numbers of participantscontributed to these debates. Inaddition to this, various stakeholdersalso submitted written contributionswhich enriched the debate 1 .DECEMBER 2004This report informs the Council about theoutcomes of these debates and identifiesmain building blocks for future action inthe new Social Policy Agenda 2006-2010.The Dutch Presidency recommends thatthese building blocks be taken into considerationwhen drawing up a new SocialAgenda next year.One key message emerged in all discussions.There is growing concern amongall participants that the progress madetowards the overall objectives of theLisbon Agenda is insufficient. A speed-upof implementation of policies leading toeconomic growth and employment isneeded in order to secure Europe’s socialmodel and to offer opportunities for jobsand a high quality of life. The new SocialPolicy Agenda should place the implementationof the Lisbon Agenda at theheart of its ambitions.We are at a crossroads: either we adjustour ambitions to our present speed ofmodernisation, or we speed up ourefforts. Clearly, we think Europe shoulddo the latter. This is why our motto is: Itis time for action. Action is called for insix priority areas:A= ActivationC= CommitmentT= TrainingI=InclusionO= Organisation of workN= Non-discriminationThese areas are elaborated in the followingparagraphs.The Presidency is grateful to all thosewho contributed to the conferences andevents, whether in writing or in speech.A special word of thanks goes to our colleagues,European Ministers and StateSecretaries responsible for employmentand social affairs for their support andactive participation. Last but not least,the Presidency would like to thank theEuropean Commission for their fruitfulcooperation.1 Notably the Social Platform documents ‘Tests for the Dutch Presidency’ and ‘The Social Policy Agenda: Proposals from theSocial Platform’, the ETUC document ‘Trade Union Memorandum to the Dutch Presidency of the European Union’ and theReport of the High Level Group on the Future of Social Policy in an Enlarged European Union.1

A = ActivationMaking work a real option for all!Achieving the European Lisbon targets for more and better jobs requires the activation of Europe’sunused labour potential. A more dynamic and inclusive labour market with increased mobility overall cansupport a net increase in labour market participation. Work should become a real option for all!Building blocks• Member States are invited to developcomprehensive active ageing strategiesby 2006, strategies aiming at a radicalpolicy and cultural shift away from earlyretirement towards longer working lives,and aiming at the participation of all.These should include increased participationin training and improved qualityin work over the life course. TheEuropean Commission and EMCO-SPCwill monitor progress in this area.• ESF should support the development ofactivating social security systems, linking allocation of funds to resultsachieved by Member States.• In order to activate Europe’s unusedlabour potential, Member States andsocial partners should invest in job-tojoband geographical mobility. Core elementsto achieve successful mobilityare: effective post-initial training, theportability of pension rights, the socialsecurity system and affordable housing.• If Europe’s labour force is sufficientlyactivated and there are still bottleneckson the EU labour market, governmentscould use selective labour migrationfrom outside the EU. An important prerequisitefor successful labour migrationis a comprehensive integration policy.Wolfgang ClementOutcome of the ConferencesConference More People at work• Greater efforts are needed by governments,social partners and individualemployers and employees to achievebetter possibilities for reconciliation ofwork and family life.This contributes to activating unusedlabour potential, supports the accumulationof human capital and enablespeople to remain active throughout thevarious phases of their working lives.• Social security systems play a valuableredistributive role but also cause institutionalobstacles for the outflow forbenefit recipients to work. In thisrespect national governments shouldurgently create and strengthen incentivesfor benefit recipients to search andaccept a paid job (tailor-madeapproach). In order to do this effectively,decentralised employment servicescombined with benefit agencies need tomonitor benefit recipients as well asconsistently apply sanctions in case ofnon-compliance.• For all policy fields the EC and theCouncil are urged to ensure and monitorprogress in implementing policies,evaluate the effectiveness and disseminatepolicy lessons.Aart Jan De Geus2

Conference Second pillar pensionsschemes between solidarity and freemarketSustainability of pension systemsdepends to a large extent on the increaseof the number of older workers. Thisrequires a shift in mindsets of workersand of employers. The EuropeanCommission should encourage and supportMember States in realizing this shift.Closing conference, Workshop Makingsocial security systems more supportiveof labour mobility• An adaptable economy and highemployment rates need a mobile workforce,whose transition is protected byan activating social protection systemthat includes effective active labourmarket policies, life-long learning andcollateral policies such as housing.• Employers and employees should both“Intake their responsibility to make mobilitypossible and to make it happen.• The member states should ensure theright incentive structures. In this areaAthe EU should act as a broker of bestpractices.Closing Conference, WorkshopPromoting social and economicintegration and managing migration• Migration cannot be separated fromintegration, which requires policies invarious fields.• Look for a new balance between EUand national competences.• All actors should invest in already availablehuman resources in the EU.Quotes“The system should not offer social securityclaimants a one-way ticket to a life onbenefits but a return ticket to the labourmarket: in short, fast-track mediation tofind work or an intensive reintegrationprocedure. In this way, we can retain ourEuropean social model. (…) Social securitysystems that play an activating role areessential. An important instrument inthis connection is work that pays. TheEuropean Social Fund can help. The allocationof funds must be linked to theresults which the Member States achievein increasing the activating element oftheir social security systems.”Aart Jan de Geus, Minister of Social Affairsand Employment of the Netherlands,Closing Conference“We should not forget that social policyis a productive factor. Without a modernand effective social protection system,offering smooth transitions betweenworking life and retirement, it will be difficultto develop active ageing policies.”Odile Quintin, Director General, DGEMPL, European Commission, ClosingConferenceOlivier Dutheillet de Lamothethe report of the Task ForceEmployment Wim Kok mainly lookedtowards the countries of NorthernEurope. They succeeded in keeping olderemployees within the labour market orreintegrating them in the labour market.We should really study the good examplegiven by these countries, because in theframework of demographic developmentwe have no other choice than to increasethe participation of older employees inthe labour market. All Ministers forEmployment and Social Affairs agreed onthis during the Informal Council inMaastricht. We should keep the promiseswe made.”Wolfgang Clement, Minister of Trade andLabour, Germany, Closing Conference“In 2010 the workforce in all MemberStates will diminish. It is absolutelyessential to complete the Lisbon Strategyand to work on active and selective immigrationprogrammes and on fertility.”Olivier Dutheillet de Lamothe, High Levelgroup on the future of social policy, ClosingConference3

C = CommitmentActing quickly, acting together!Achieving our objectives requires the active participation of all stakeholders.Public authorities at all levels must work together with other stakeholders.They must show their commitment by reaching agreements on innovativepolicies and by communicating their policies with the general public. Thisrequires a commitment to delivery from actors at all relevant levels.Building blocks• Within the framework of the EuropeanPartnership for Change, concrete commitmentsshould be made to strengthenpartnerships for reform at all levelsaimed at growth and employment.Workplace innovation, ageing/pensionreform, life long learning arrangementsand balancing flexibility and securityshould be priority areas for joint agreements.• Member states should develop their variousnational action plans into politicaldocuments expressing the commitmentof their governments, involving thenational parliaments, social partnersand civil society.• Maintaining high social standards in theEU requires efforts to establish a socialbottom layer in global trade.• Progress on Corporate SocialResponsibility should be addressed inthe context of the mid-term review ofthe Lisbon Strategy. The EuropeanCommission is invited to present toboth Council and Parliament a comprehensiveset of concrete proposals onpromotion of CSR practices both inEurope and globally.Outcome of the ConferencesConference Recent developments inEuropean industrial relationsSocial partners should make progress intheir contribution to the three main areasidentified in the recent Employment TaskForce report: improving labour forceadaptability, investing in human capitaland job quality, and attracting more peopleto the labour market.The main objective is that social partnersfulfil the commitment they made byagreeing on a partnership for change.Certainly social partners are not solelyresponsible for the results, but theyshould show a measurable commitmentand effort to the Lisbon process. Otherfindings:• Pension reform is inevitable and socialdialogue is a necessity for pensionreform.• Balanced flexibility and security are nec-Thomas Mirow, member of the High LevelGroup on the Lisbon Strategyessary and social dialogue/social partnersmust develop their own arrangementstogether.• Because of the changing relationshipbetween sector and company level bargainingthe company level must bemore involved in social policies.Conference on Corporate SocialResponsibilityProgress on CSR should be addressed atthe European Council’s March 2005meeting in the context of the mid-termreview of the Lisbon strategy. CSR as across-cutting issue should be addressedin a coherent manner in all relevantEuropean Councils of Ministers. TheEuropean Commission is invited to presentto both Council and Parliament acomprehensive set of concrete proposalson promoting CSR practices both inEurope and globally by summer 2005 atthe latest.Tarja HalonenClosing Conference, WorkshopReinforcing the social dialogue:implementing the European partnershipfor change• There is a need to strengthen structuresof social partners and their dialogue.• There is a need to improve co-operationbetween various levels of social dialogue.4

CQuotes“Governments and the European Uniondoas a whole should pay better attention toeconomic and trade policies’ impact onemployment. Short-term job lossesseem to be unavoidable. In these cases,governments need to implement activepolicies like job training and promotingentrepreneurship which can lead to newemployment opportunities. Here I wishto underline the importance of preventivemeasures – sound domestic and fairregional policies – whether they concerneducation, the economy or social security.It is always more difficult, morepainful and more expensive to take correctivemeasures afterwards.”Tarja Halonen, President of the Republic ofFinland, Closing Conference“National policies become more effectiveif the other Member States all workalong the same lines; otherwise theirpolicies would be less effective becauseit is not helpful to export national problemsto the neighbours.”Odile Quintin, Director General DGEMPL, European Commission, ClosingConferenceOdile Quintin“An important instrument of the EU isdialogue with the social partners. Heretoo the relationship between Europeanwords and national deeds plays a role.No one disputes that cultural change isnecessary. At European level we haveentered into a Partnership for Change.(…) In the European social dialogue wemust examine what this Partnership actuallymeans in practice. (…) The dialoguewith other civil society organisations isalso of great importance. They have specificknowledge of the groups they represent.They can help us find creative solutionsthat might otherwise elude us.”Aart Jan de Geus, Minister of Social Affairsand Employment of the Netherlands,Closing Conference“The tide is against social dialogue.Politicians feel that it does not producerapid results. And yet, post war socialdialogue has had great successes. TheNordic countries have shown that socialdialogue works. Accession of the newmember states is no reason to stop thesocial Europe. People are concernedabout offshoring. The social agenda mustsomething about these concerns!”John Monks, general secretary of ETUC atthe Conference Recent developments inEuropean industrial relations“The European Commission wants thesocial partners to make progress on thefollowing points: the improvement oflabour force adaptability, investment inhuman capital and job quality and attractingmore people to the labour market.”Jackie Morin, DG Employment and SocialAffairs of the European Commission,Conference Recent developments inEuropean industrial relations“Policy-making is like cooking. You needa good recipe and good ingredients. Ifyou forget either of these, the dish willnot taste good.” (In other words: if forexample the NGOs or the social partnersare not involved, the policy will fail.)Anne-Sophie Parent, President of the SocialPlatform, Closing Conference5

I = InclusionBuilding an inclusive societyOnly modernised and sustainable social policies and social protectionsystems can guarantee an inclusive society. In particular, inclusion of themost vulnerable groups depends on well-functioning institutions, able todeliver tailor-made services to those who need them. The best guarantee forsocial inclusion is a job.Building blocks• In order to better prepare social securitysystems for an ageing society, exchangingof experiences within the OpenMethod of Coordination for SocialInclusion and Pensions should beintensified. The European Commissionis invited to focus an exchange of bestpractices on the most urgent problemswhich are tangible for everyone, such asthe prevention of long-term unemployment,homelessness and child poverty.• Since any social service could one daybecome economic, greater clarity isneeded on how the internal market legislationaffects their manoeuvringspace.• Local authorities play a crucial role inthe delivery of services. Benchmarkingand mutual learning should thereforebe extended to local level (network ofcities).• The open method of coordination in thefield of pensions should be reinforcedwith indicators measuring delivery atnational level.Outcome of the ConferencesConference Social inclusion in anenlarged EU: new challenges, newopportunitiesMember states should:• invest in people distant from thelabour market;• combine financial incentives with moreresponsibilities for both beneficiariesand local administrative bodies toensure reintegration;• facilitate local actors to develop preventionstrategies for homelessness, childpoverty and early school leaving;• provide local authorities with the necessarycompetences for the developmentof tailor-made approaches.Commission and Council should:• increase public visibility of the SocialInclusion process by focussing theOMC more on urgent problems whichare tangible for the public opinion, suchas long-term unemployment, homelessnessand child poverty;• strengthen mutual learning and peerpressure by organising an exchange ofopinions on the best practices of SocialInclusion within the ESPHCA Council.Closing Conference, Workshop Clarifyingthe relationship between social servicesand internal market legislation• Every social service in any memberstate could be one day become economic;so clarity is needed.• The OMC could be helpful in supportingmember states and all actors in thefield to define the common criteria.Closing Conference, WorkshopPromoting social inclusion, solidarity,justice and opportunities• The OMC should keep the entire scope,but member states and Commissionshould focus their communication onthe most visible issues.• Local actors should be more systematicallyincluded in the whole process.• Extend benchmarking and mutual learningto local level (network of cities).Roberto Maroni, Italian minister of Labour and Social Policies7

Henk van HoofQuotes“The most promising opportunity lyingbefore us in Europe is the challenge ofcreating jobs for people. It is the keyissue underlying all efforts to promoteintegration and oppose social exclusion.The challenge we face is to accept thatchange is necessary. The world aroundthose who are socially excluded is changing.I am especially concerned about levelsof poverty among ethnic minorities,and among families with children in particular.They are the most severely affectedby social exclusion. Children are thefuture. It is very dangerous for them tobe socially excluded so young. We canensure greater attention for poverty andsocial exclusion within an EU strategy.The open method of coordination helpsMember States to make commitments.”Odile Quintin, Director-General, DGEMPL, European Commission, ConferenceSocial inclusion in an enlarged EU: newchallenges, new opportunities“Combating poverty and social exclusionremains high on our agenda. TheEuropean strategy must become morevisible by tackling problems which everyonerecognises: long-term unemployment,child poverty and one-parentfamilies, and the homeless.”Aart Jan de Geus, Minister of Social Affairsand Employment, the Netherlands,Conference Social inclusion in an enlargedEU“We have to prevent children from growingup in poverty and being subjected toneglect. Implement measures to achievethe rights of children and make them thefocus of our work. That is why it isimportant to intervene resolutely duringcrises in families with many problems. Itis too often the case that various aidorganisations work at crossed purposes.Closer cooperation can avoid escalationand better guarantee that the rights ofthe child are observed.”Henk van Hoof, State Secretary for SocialAffairs and Employment, the Netherlands,Conference Social inclusion in an enlargedEU“The socialist state provided work andwelfare for everyone and social policywas not necessary. Now we are trying tointroduce the European model and we doneed social policy. The emphasis herebyis on work: increasing the number of participantsin the labour process and integratingthe underprivileged in the labourmarket. One way in which the governmentdoes this is to provide people withfinancial support. We want to make itfinancially attractive for people to workpart-time, for example. In addition wehope to attract more women to thelabour market by providing people belowa certain income level with a contributionfor childcare.”Kinga Göncz, Minister of EqualOpportunities, Hungary, Conference Socialinclusion in an enlarged EU“I don’t need to stand here and preachabout what issues affect people living inpoverty. They are the same all overEurope: health, housing, welfare, unemployment,education, child welfare andsocial exclusion.”Maria Creighton, chairperson of OPEN, theOne Parent and Exchange Network,Ireland, Conference Social inclusion in anenlarged EUMaria Creighton8

O = Organisation of work:Adaptable work organisations,capable of managing diversityMeeting the new standards of ever faster economic restructuring means wemust increase the adaptability of companies and workers: making a shiftfrom job security to employment security. But this is not just economicreasoning. A diverse society and labour market means that workorganisations should reflect the divergent needs and preferences of allmembers of our society regardless of sex, background, handicap or otherfactor.Building blocks• European Commission and MemberStates are invited to review in the comingyear(s) the current regulatory framework– at European and national levelsrespectively – in the area of workingconditions, in order to address properlythe divergent needs and preferences ofworkers and companies. Priority shouldbe given to finding the appropriate balancebetween flexibility and security(‘flexicurity’) and to improving facilitiesfor the reconciliation of work and familylife.• European Commission is invited toinvestigate the feasibility of a broad policyframework (guidelines, frameworkdirective, working time directive, socialdialogue agreement, funding) to promotethe reconciliation of work, careand education and the provision of adequatechildcare.• Member States in the context of theEES should develop, in dialogue withthe social partners and civil society,measurable targets to stimulate labourmarket participation of vulnerablegroups.• The current level of health and safetyprotection can be maintained or evenimproved by broadening the scope ofinstruments for intervention. TheEuropean social dialogue at sector levelcan be a very useful method to achievebetter working conditions.OOutcome of the ConferencesConference Childcare in a changing world• Realising the EU child care targets is acondition for success in 2010 with theLisbon agenda.• EU countries will have to find the rightbalance between facilities for (paid)parental leave and childcare and studytheir effects on labour participation.The Commission should frequentlyorganize peer reviews to assist theMember States.• The Commission should explore thefeasibility of harmonised statistics onquality, affordability and public spendingon childcare.• In measuring the targets the effect ofparental leave on the demand for childcareand the available hours of care perweek should be taken into account.• Member States can improve their servicesfor education, childcare and leisuretime by stimulating closer cooperationbetween the services. They shouldexchange their experiences.Conference More people at workGreater efforts are needed by govern-Thérèse De Liedekerke and Catalene Passchierments, social partners and individualemployers and employees to achieve betterpossibilities for reconciliation of workand family life. This contributes to activatingunused labour potential, supportingthe accumulation of human capitaland enabling people to remain activethroughout the various phases of theirworking lives. For all policy fields theEuropean Commission and the Councilare urged to ensure and monitorprogress in implementing policies, evaluatethe effectiveness and disseminatepolicy lessons.Conference Labour Law in Europe: stepstowards 2010Entrepreneurs should have sufficientcompetitive force and therefore the workforceshould not be ‘nailed down’ by allkinds of law and regulations, some say.On the other hand it is important tomaintain social cohesion. So it boilsdown to finding a new balance betweenflexibility and security. During the conferencemany possible issues were mentioned,worthy of further examination.A selection:• All parties involved should take measuresto increase the capacity to adapt tonew situations and to allow for swifttransitions between employment9

elationships; Increased flexibility complementedby appropriate and newforms of security (‘flexicurity’).• Appropriate solutions should be foundfor non-standard work and safeguardinga common ‘floor of rights’ for everyonewho is active on the labour market.• Implementation and demarcation offundamental rights and ways to securefull and effective compliance preventingthem from being defeated by the actionof individuals.• Both Member States and the EU shouldtake measures to support the social dialogueat all levels and to empowersocial partners to fully play their roleunder changed circumstances.and social partners are a pre-condition.Within a coherent government policyframework social partners should defineand resource local/sectoral actions combiningquality of jobs, including labourmarkets and security for the individuals.Closing Conference, WorkshopImproving working arrangements tofacilitate the life/work balanceWe need a mixture of childcare, care forthe elderly and disabled, (paid) leavearrangements and flexible work arrangements.We should invite the social partnersat European level to make strongerarrangements and investigate the possibilityof a legal framework at Europeanlevel (guidelines, framework directive onreconciliation of work and family life,working time directive). Investing in anactive society means we have to formulatedifferent priorities in social expenditure(raising taxes for care services?).Conference Occupational Safety andHealth• The sectoral social dialogue atEuropean level can be a very usefulmethod to achieve better working conditions.Therefore it should be includedin the new Social Policy Agenda.• It is time that the parties themselvesassume responsibility for improvingworking conditions. Many differentforms of intervention are possible. It isessential that the European Agency forSafety and Health at Work continues toprovide information on this at aEuropean level in order to promote anexchange of good practices betweenMember States.• Simplification and rationalisation ofhealth and safety rules is necessary atboth national and European level. Thenew European Commission is calledupon to come up with a proposal forsimplifying the Directives on workingconditions.Closing Conference, WorkshopPromoting diversity and equal access tothe labour market for all• Strengthen the business case for diversityby highlighting the demographicperspective.• Rebalancing national policies morefocused on investment in skills.• Commitment to delivery by EU leaders.Build reform partnerships with employersand Trade Unions.Closing Conference, WorkshopPromoting flexibility combined with newforms of security on the labour marketWe need to move from job security toemployment security. To get there, trustand confidence between governmentsQuotesHenk Don“We do not need an umbrella directive.But the Member States should criticallyreview their existing legislation. We mustdiscuss the progress annually in theCouncil. The Commission can help us inthis respect. I would ask the social partnersto collect examples of best practicesand recommend them to their members.”Aart Jan de Geus, Minister of Social Affairsand Employment, the Netherlands, Closingconference,“We need a floor of rights, but the EUdoes not suffer from a deficit of rightsbut from very outdated forms of rights inimportant areas. Flexibility is in the interestsof both employees and employers.Social partners must give this substancethrough collective agreements.”Thérèse de Liedekerke, Director for SocialAffairs, UNICE, Conference Labour law inEurope: steps towards 2010“Flexibility means something very differentto an employer than to an employee.All parties must be clear about the startingpoint and what the playing field lookslike. And we must always bear in mindthat not all workers are covered byunions, so basic rules are always necessary.”Catelene Passchier, Confederal SecretaryETUC, Conference Labour law in Europe:steps towards 2010“Give people certainty and flexibility, evenwhen they change jobs; create conditionsso that people can go to work with aneasy mind and give them help in lookingfor training and employment opportunities.There is no single recipe for theentire labour market in the EU. You mustlearn from each other and then adaptwhat you have learnt to your own localsituation.”Henk Don, director of the Bureau forEconomic Policy (CPB), the Netherlands,Conference More people at Work10

N = Non-discrimination:Promoting equal opportunities for allThe new draft EU charter of fundamental rights forbids discrimination basedon any grounds such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, geneticfeatures, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion,membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexualorientation. The defence of this fundamental right requires pro-active policiesto allow every person to participate fully in all aspects of life and to haveaccess to work and services.Building blocks• Member States are urged to step up theimplementation of the existing EU nondiscriminationlegislation in nationallaw and practices. In order to strengthenthe learning capacities of MemberStates, exchanges of best practices atEU-level should be organised more frequently,including the areas of specialconcern identified at Beijing in 1995.• The European Commission is invited todevelop a gender equality monitoringreport on the gender indicators developedfor the implementation of theBeijing Platform for Action.• The EU should include a Europeanbenchmark in the EuropeanEmployment Strategy for the participationof disabled people on the labourmarket.• EU funding instruments should supportthe efforts to address issues such asraising awareness, eradication of prejudicesand motivation of all to make maximumuse of opportunities provided.• The social policy agenda, when dealingwith the fight against discrimination,should also address the interferencebetween individual rights on the onehand and cultural or religious convictionson the other.- reconciliation of family life andworking life;- unequal pay between women andmen;- domestic violence against women;- women and men in economic decisionmaking and the upcoming indicatorson sexual harassment at theworkplace;• to take concrete steps to implement theEuropean Council meeting Conclusionsof the Spring Summit 2004;• to take appropriate measures in thefield of social policy and education thatoffer women migrants and women fromethnic minorities, who are often sociallyexcluded, the opportunity to acquire thenecessary language skills and vocationaltraining to participate and integrateinto the labour market;•to continue to develop, adopt and fullyimplement laws and other measures, asappropriate, such as policies and educationalprogrammes, to eradicate harmfulcustomary or traditional practices.Conference International Forum onDisability Management• Not many people with an occupationaldisability work in the European Union.Around 78% of those with an extremelyserious handicap are unemployed. Thatfigure is 49% for people with a seriousdisability. All those involved – theEuropean Union, authorities, employersand workers – are urged to take stepsto find work for more people with anoccupational disability.• The EU must include a Europeanbenchmark in the EuropeanEmployment Strategy and give attentionto employment for disabled people inthe European Social Policy Agenda.• Governments are being called on toorganise a campaign aimed at improvingthe image surrounding people withan occupational disability.• Employers are called on to check theirrecruitment procedures to stop theexclusion of people with disabilities.Conference Equality in a future EuropeThere is a need for ongoing attention tocombat discrimination and promoteequal treatment in an enlarged EU.Points of interest are:• Mainstreaming is important but needsto be accompanied by specific actionsfor specific groups and by legislation.• Continued attention for the full andOutcome of the ConferencesConference Diversity and Participation:the genderperspectiveMember States and other stakeholdersare called upon:• to develop a gender equality monitoringreport on the gender indicators developedin Council for the implementationof the Beijing Platform for Action tomeasure:- the progress made in the field ofwomen in power and decision-making;Z. Skromach, minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Czech Republic11

correct implementation of legislation isneeded.• The importance of the involvement ofstakeholders in EU funding must bestressed.• The efforts to tackle sex discriminationin the EU should be linked more closelyto efforts to tackle discrimination onother grounds.• It is important to work together toensure greater equality for all the equalitystrands.Closing Conference WorkshopCombining instruments to achievegender equalityThe most effective way to deliver genderequality is through strengthening thecombination of instruments. Key issuesare:• To financially structure and redefine caring(childcare and other dependents).• The role of fathers and men.• Cultural change through education.• Life/work balance.• The role of social partners as drivers ofchange.Vladimir SpidlaColophonSenderMinistry of Social Affairs andEmployment (SZW)the NetherlandsCompilationActorion CommunicatieAdviseurs, VelpClosing Conference Workshop Defendingfundamental rights, non-discriminationand equal opportunities• There needs to be a strategic commitmentto combat discrimination.• Independent equality bodies should provideprotection.• Multidimensional and integratedapproach in member states and at EUlevel.• Bottom-up and mainstreaming approachto development of anti-discriminationpolicies.• Serious intention reflected in financialsupport for anti-discrimination measures.• Development of common indicators formeasuring discrimination.Quotes“The search for an inclusive society mustbe a priority for the social policy agenda.But this objective cannot be achievedwithout achieving a balance betweenrights and obligations for both themigrants and the societies that welcomethe immigrants. (…..) Integration isalways an obligation and a right. It mustbe based on reciprocity of obligationsbetween the society and the individual.Those obligations must be clearly definedand must respect the European charterof fundamental rights.”Vladimir Spidla, Commissioner forEmployment, Social Affairs and EqualOpportunities, Conference Equality in aFuture Europe“European legislation has significantlyraised the level of protection against discriminationacross the EU. However, furtherefforts will be needed to ensure thatthe principle of non-discrimination isimplemented effectively across theEuropean Union. Discrimination continuesto be a daily reality for millions ofpeople who live and work in the EU. Inaddition, new challenges have emergedsince the adoption of the current instrumentsfor combating discrimination atEuropean level.”Odile Quintin, Director-General,Employment and Social Affairs DG,European Commission, Foreword GreenPaper“If we are to achieve our Lisbon objectives,which are aimed at long-term economicgrowth, full employment, socialcohesion and sustainable development,the employment opportunity levels ofClosing Conference WorkshopPromoting diversity and equal access tothe labour market for all• Strengthen the business case fordiversity by highlighting the demographicperspective.• Rebalancing national policies morefocused on investment in skills.• Commitment to delivery by EUleaders.• Build reform partnerships withemployers and Trade Unions.groups that are currently under-representedin the employment market mustbe increased. To achieve this we must:(1) Develop strategies to increase the netparticipation of women and olderemployees; (2) Apply gender mainstreamingin order to achieve the generalLisbon objectives; (3) Abolish the differencesin remuneration and create morefamily-friendly jobs in order to help morewomen enter the employment market.Migrant women and women from ethnicminorities must firmly enter society. Theymust become women who participate insociety, who learn and work, and whobuild their own future and the future oftheir families and that of society”.Aart Jan de Geus, Minister of Social Affairsand Employment, the Netherlands,Conference Diversity and Participation: thegenderperspective“It is the first time that equality has beenattributed specifically to the mandate of aMember of the European Commission.This shows clearly the importance of thisdossier for the enlarged Europe and givesme the possibility to enhance the causeof equality progressively for the next fiveyears. Following the declaration of thePresident of the Commission before theEuropean Parliament, the fundamentalrights and the fight against discriminationare the essential priorities of theCommission, in which we will invest.”Vladimir Spidla, Commissioner forEmployment, Social Affairs and EqualOpportunities, Conference Equality in aFuture Europe12

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