Forum 2006

Competitive Europe - Social Europe: partners or rivals?
Dublin, 1-3 November 2006

Eu social policy: what is the business case?
Where does EU social policy meet business?

Abstract by Nikolaus van der Pas

The European Social Model aims to combine sustainable economic growth with ever-improving living and working conditions. As confirmed by our Lisbon Strategy and Social Policy Agenda, the future of the European Union is dependent upon a positive interplay between economic, social and employment policies. Therefore, such policies should not be seen as 'mutually exclusive' but, on the contrary, as 'mutually reinforcing'.

Concretely, work on the concept of flexicurity is designed to strike the right balance between security and the flexibility that is necessary in today's globalised market. In other words, EU Social Policy should support business and its quest for flexibility and increased productivity, while providing the necessary security for workers in their transitions between jobs. It is clear that business also meets social policy, in particular through the social dialogue (a unique feature of our European Social Model), promotion of diversity in employment and Corporate Social Responsibility.

In other words, for the Lisbon Strategy to be effective, in terms of sustainable development, Social Policy and business should progress in synergy and harmony.

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