On 15 November, the Council's employment and social protection committees sent their joint opinion on flexicurity to Portuguese Labour Minister José António Vieira da Silva, who will preside over the employment and social affairs Council meeting next Wednesday in Brussels. Both committees stress that the Communication "is a most welcome contribution that should inspire member states in the establishment of their priorities and measures in this reform process". They add, however, that flexicurity "is not an end in itself [...], nor does it require new processes".
The committees recommended the following common principles on security, set to be adopted by the Council on 5 December:
- Flexicurity is a means of reinforcing the implementation of the Lisbon Strategy, create more and better jobs, modernise labour markets, and promote good work through new forms of flexibility and security to increase adaptability, employment and social cohesion.
- Flexicurity involves the deliberate combination of flexible and reliable contractual arrangements, comprehensive lifelong learning strategies, effective active labour market policies, and modern, adequate and sustainable social protection systems.
- Flexicurity [...] should be tailored to the specific circumstances of each member state [...] Based on the common principles, each member state should develop its own flexicurity arrangements [...]
- Flexicurity should promote more open, responsive and inclusive labour markets overcoming segmentation. It concerns both those in work and those out of work [...]
- Internal (within the enterprise) as well as external flexicurity are equally important and should be promoted. Sufficient contractual flexibility must be accompanied by secure transitions from job to job. Upward mobility needs to be facilitated, as well as between unemployment or inactivity and work [...]
- Flexicurity should support gender equality [...]
- Flexicurity requires a climate of trust and broadly-based dialogue among all stakeholders [...] While public authorities retain overall responsibility, the involvement of social partners in the design and implementation of flexicurity policies through social dialogue and collective bargaining is of crucial importance.
- Flexicurity requires cost-effective allocation of resources and should remain fully compatible with sound and financially sustainable public budgets. It should also aim toward fair distribution of costs and benefits, especially between businesses, public authorities and individuals, with particular attention to the specific situation of SMEs.