Labour market reforms


In the wake of the global financial and economic crises, the EU is developing a new labour market strategy as part of its successor to the 'Lisbon Agenda' for economic, social and environmental reform, which is due to end in 2010. The new roadmap will retain many of the previous ambitions, but will also be shaped by EU leaders' exit strategies.

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The 1997 Luxembourg job summit launched the idea of a European Employment Strategy, which had three primary objectives: achieving full employment, increasing productivity and quality at work, and promoting cohesion. 

In 2000, the EU launched its ambitious 'Lisbon Strategy' to become "the world's most dynamic knowledge-based economy by 2010". 

After five years of limited results, EU leaders relaunched the strategy in March 2005, putting greater emphasis on growth and jobs and transferring more ownership to member states via national action plans (see EurActiv LinksDossier). 

On the home straight of the Lisbon agenda, scheduled to end in 2010, many countries are far from delivering on its objectives and many EU leaders and experts are voicing mixed evaluations, with some deeming it an outright failure (EurActiv 03/06/09) and others offering a more moderate appraisal (EurActiv 23/06/09). 

The ongoing financial and economic crises are likely to be a key factor in drafting the new strategy, with the European Commission acknowledging that "European labour markets will be changed profoundly by the crisis". 

Nonetheless, many priorities are likely to remain atop the agenda, including the EU's commitment to flexicurity (see EurActiv LinksDossier for more).