Two hundred thousand protesters, according to Portugal’s main trade union, have marched in Lisbon, against pan-European labour reforms.
Special counsel to the Portuguese government
Maria Joao Rodrigues describes the ambitions embodied in so-called “flexicurity”:
“The big gamble we’re going to make is to create jobs in new sectors. Simultaneously, it is to prepare people. This is the initiative ‘new competences for new jobs.’”
Flexicurity is a policy that makes hiring and firing easier while guaranteeing retraining and generous benefits during the transition from one job to another.
Much was made of the Lisbon Strategy at the start of this decade, whereby the EU leaders promised courageous policy action to make the bloc the world’s foremost knowledge-based society-slash-economy.
Henri Monceau, from think tank ‘Our Europe’ talks about the new realities:
“Europeans are anxious to retire with more than the state guarantees, by investing in private pension funds. They understand they have to make sacrifices. They understand this means putting off the retirement age, either establishing a legal cut-off or through alternative incentive measures.”
A broad flexicurity agreement has been reached between the European Trade Union Confederation and BusinessEurope, representing employers in the bloc.