Eurofound News March 2007

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News in pictures

pictureAgnès Parent-Thirion, research coordinator of Eurofound’s working conditions unit, presents the European Working Conditions Survey report to Members of the European Parliament in the EP Employment working committee, in Brussels, Belgium, on 7 February 2007. At left, Barbara da Roit, Instituto per la ricerca sociale.

News in brief

Improving the quality of the European Quality of Life Survey

Eurofound’s first European Quality of Life Survey 2003 was an important contribution to social research in the EU. It analysed key social policy issues in the 25 countries of the European Union, conducted on a consistent, empirical basis for the first time. More remarkable was the fact that so much was achieved within a limited time and budgetary framework, in comparison to similarly ambitious initiatives. In preparation for the second survey, to be conducted in 2007, Eurofound has cooperated with research experts to assess the 2003 survey exercise and formulate recommendations aimed at improving the overall quality of the survey. Fieldwork for the second European Quality of Life Survey will commence in autumn 2007.

Keep track of Eurofound’s work on quality of life

Strengthening links with the European Parliament

A delegation from the European Parliament’s Committee on Employment and Social Affairs visited the Foundation in early March. Csaba Öry (PPE-DE), Joel Hasse Ferreira (PSE), and Sepp Kusstatscher (Verts/ALE) were briefed on Eurofound’s most recent research initiatives, findings and recommendations during the two-day visit. Hungarian MEP Csaba Öry noted that he has been using Eurofound’s work for over 15 years, both as a member of the European Parliament and as a deputy in the Hungarian Parliament. ‘I have asked and I have always received replies that are worthwhile and valuable to me in my work,’ he said. Sepp Kusstatscher from Austria said that in his recent work on migrant workers he utilised Eurofound’s extensive research and recommendations on the subject. Joel Hasse Ferreira from Portugal expressed the opinion that Eurofound ‘takes good care of its information users’, and is deservedly and regularly reported on in the European media.

Europe needs not just more but better mobility

Eurofound will publish five new reports on worker mobility in the coming months, dealing with the following topics: job satisfaction and labour market mobility, occupational mobility, workers’ expectations regarding forced or voluntary mobility, international and regional migration intentions, and long-distance mobility. In its work on mobility, Eurofound argues that EU policymakers have to consider three different policy agendas regarding worker mobility. First is the right of freedom of movement for all citizens within EU Member States and the right of ‘non-discriminatory’ access to employment. Second are policies that centre on the Lisbon process and the European Employment Strategy – in these, governments should eliminate obstacles to voluntary mobility and encourage employees to go for more job-to-job and geographical mobility. Finally, there is the challenge to secure on the one hand economic gains resulting from a more efficient distribution of labour and on the other to prevent permanent mass migration of the better educated and younger participants in the labour market.

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Social partners and social security systems

Social security systems in the EU have traditionally provided a partial insurance against loss of income due to unemployment. In recent years, however, the focus has shifted from protecting the unemployed to activating unemployed people into re-entering the labour market. The recent comparative overview by Eurofound’s European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) looks at similarities between unemployment benefit systems in Europe and examines the degree of social partner involvement in the different countries. The report covers 13 of the 15 former EU15 Member States, plus six new Member States (Cyprus, Hungary, Malta, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia) and Norway.

Read more on EIROnline

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