Brief – EU Council President warns social cohesion has become “somewhat fragile”

Speaking at a regional meeting of the International Labour
Organisation, Jean-Claude Juncker has warned that the EU is
increasingly in danger of becoming an individualistic society.

People and the aim of reinforcing social cohesion should be at
the heart of the Lisbon agenda, EU Council President Jean-Claude
Juncker said on 15 February. “The ultimate objective of growth and
competitiveness is bolstering social cohesion in Europe, which has
become somewhat fragile,” Mr Juncker told participants at a meeting
of the International Labor Organisation (ILO). 

The ILO meeting, which runs until 18 February, brings together
representatives of workers, employers and governments from the EU,
the Stability Pact, the Commonwealth of Independent States and the
Council of Europe. The meeting focuses on four key areas:
migration, youth employment, pension reform and flexibility and
security on the job market.

Although the ILO’s Global Employment Trends report shows a small
decrease in the rate of unemployment in the EU-25 between 2003
(9.1%) and 2004 (9.0%) Hungary’s Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsany
warned participants: “We will pay a high price at the end of the
day if we continue believing that economic growth automatically
results in an expanding job market.”

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