Eurofound News May 2007

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Director’s diary

Positive developments in European working conditions

2006 saw considerable progress in working conditions in Europe, Eurofound’s European Working Conditions Observatory (EWCO) notes in its annual review. The European Commission published its Roadmap for equality between men and women 2006–2010, which takes Europe’s already ambitious targets for gender equality far beyond the workplace domain; at the same time, a first-phase consultation was launched on the reconciliation of professional, private and family life. Similarly, the new services Directive can be viewed as establishing a good balance between competition and social protection; together with the social partners’ agreements to combat violence and harassment in the workplace, these developments represent a step forward for Europe’s labour market as a whole. However, despite the extensive debate that took place regarding the working time Directive in 2006, no EU-level legislative progress was made.

With a view to making an ever-more effective contribution to policymakers, preparations are already underway at the Foundation for its annual work programme for 2008, as well as for the next four-year work programme for 2009–2012. Internal consultation and brainstorming have produced a number of innovative research ideas, as well as furthering already established research initiatives. All these proposals will now be brought to the stakeholder group meetings in Dublin in July, where decisions will be taken regarding the focus and scope of research activities.

May will be a busy month for Eurofound: in conjunction with its usual activities, it will contribute to a high-level conference under the German EU Presidency on the issue of demographic change. Forthcoming publications, meanwhile, will include a timely report investigating quality-of-life issues in Turkey.

Jorma Karppinen

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