Foundation Forum 2002
Europe makes a difference - challenges for the European Social Model
Dublin Castle, 29–30 August, 2002
The Foundation Forum provided a space for frank and open debate among high-level actors and thinkers in the social and economic policy fields in Europe. The theme of the Foundation Forum 2002 was Europe makes a difference – Challenges for the European Social Model. The Forum was supported by the Irish Government, reflecting the spirit of the debate on The Future of the European Union.
The European Social Model must face the challenges of globalisation, new technologies and the enlargement of Europe. It must adapt to rapid social changes within Europe such as the ageing of the population and work force, as well as changing employment and family patterns. How will Europe cope with these challenges and at the same time achieve the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world?
The two-day event was led off with speeches by the Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, Anna Diamantopoulou European Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, and by Raymond-Pierre Bodin, director of the Foundation.
Mr Ahern emphasised that flexibility was 'absolutely essential' in the 'development of a European social model'. He added that effectiveness and pragmatism needed to be key considerations when developing such policies.
Mrs Diamantopoulou stated that a 'major contrast remains between Europe and the US. It is a choice between a more, or less, uneven distribution of income, opportunities and life chances.'
Mr Bodin emphasised the importance of value, that a common understanding of how we value the way we live and the way we work is essential to create a common European social model.
Parallel debates identified potential policy dilemmas and challenges, as well as future choices aimed at balancing social, economic and employment policies. The debates focused on flexible labour markets, an active society for all, social rights and social standards, and the governance of an enlarged EU. Key speakers presented the global perspective, leading to a final debate about the role of the Social Model in a future Europe.