Flexicurity – it’s become the buzz word for experts examining how to adapt labour laws in a changing world. It’s also now on the lips of those at the European Commission, as it launches a public debate on whether employment regulations at a European and national level should be reviewed. The green paper debate, which will last four months, will examine how the job market can become more flexible, while maximising security for workers – hence the new word.
“The strategic concept is jobs and growth,” says the European commissioner in charge of employment, Vladimir Spidla. “Work, jobs, growth and also flexicurity, which means we can’t avoid changes but we can support people facing change and transition.”
The commission says there’s a growing gap between those in permanent, full time jobs, and those looking for work, or employed under what it calls non-standard and sometimes precarious contracts. It’s estimated 40 percent of the EU workforce don’t have permanent full-time contracts. The new debate comes as Europe tries to work out how best to take on stiff global competition. Member countries, such as France, however, know very well that attempting to change labour laws is no easy task.