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The concept of flexicurity – a strategy to enhance flexibility and security in the labour market at the same time – gained new momentum with the advent of the economic crisis. Public and policy discussions are now dealing with the question of whether flexicurity also works during times of economic crisis, or indeed, if it even can be a way out of the recession.
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are an important part of the
Slovak Republic’s economy, making up 95% of all enterprises in the country
(see table below). SMEs are also a stabilising element in the economic system
and the branch with the highest potential of growth.
Tourism is an important sector for Austria, not only for the country’s
reputation but also for its economy. The sector, which includes hotels,
restaurants and catering, is a major employer providing 5.4% of the
country’s jobs and generating added value amounting to 4.4% of the gross
domestic product (GDP).
Youth unemployment is a growing concern in the EU as the economic downturn
continues. In October 2011 the unemployment rate (25Kb PDF)  among those
aged 15 to 24 in the EU27 was 22%. Some countries are particularly badly
affected, such as Spain with 49% youth unemployment and Greece with 45%. A
further concern is that young people who successfully find work may be
employed on temporary or part-time contracts.
Steel maker Hellenic Halyvourgia  was created from the merger of
Halyvourgia Thessalias and Helliniki Halyvourgia on 1 December 2006. Since
then domestic demand for its steel has declined and the company has not been
able to create an export market for its products.
During the assignment of the first contract for construction work at the site
of the 2015 Universal Exposition, which will take place in Milan, a draft
agreement was signed covering health and safety requirements. It takes its
lead from the health and safety pact signed in 2008 covering building sites
in Milan (*IT0902029I* ).
In 2006, the then German government proposed gradually raising the statutory
retirement age from 65 to 67 years. At the time, the coalition was made up of
the conservative Christian Democratic Party (CDU ), its Bavarian sister
party, the Christian Social Union (CSU ), and its coalition partner, the
Social Democratic Party (SPD ).
The EU enlargements in 2004 and 2007 coincided with a sharp growth in demand
for workers in the Norwegian labour market. These workers mostly came from
Eastern Europe, but this influx led to social dumping ; - the problem of
poor pay and conditions, breaches of health and safety rules, and unfair
competition. The government launched two action plans in 2006 and 2008 to
combat this. Many of the measures were initiated by the trade unions,
Fellesforbundet  and The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO ),
who demanded that collective agreements be made generally applicable – a
new measure that would have substantial effects on parts of the industrial
relations system. This idea was met with scepticism by employers.
The rate of undeclared work  in Italy is, on average, 12.2%, but there are
strong regional differences. According to a report (in Italian ) by the
Italian National Institute for Statistics (Istat ), the percentage of
irregular workers in the south, where Puglia is situated, is 19%, while the
figure in northern Italy is 10.2%.
The new agreement reached in January 2012 on short-time work is seen as the
first step towards negotiating a structural reform of the French labour
market to simplify the short-time work scheme, to make it more accessible to
companies in difficulty. The social partners have already arranged three
working meetings between now and 7 March to discuss this reform, which has
been called for by all negotiating parties.