Spidla to take lead in debate on future of European social model

In an exclusive interview with EURACTIV, Employment Commissioner Spidla defends the relaunched Lisbon strategy and says he is ready to take the lead in a debate on the social models of Europe.

In the interview with EURACTIV, Mr Spidla addressed the following issues:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): 
    • The Commission is preparing a new communication, which will be presented by the end of 2005.
    • Mr Spidla confirmed that the Commission will go for a voluntary approach.
  • Jobs and social cohesion:
    • The commissioner believes that the EU has the capacity to influence the member states and thinks that they are willing to co-operate with Brussels.
  • Lisbon strategy: 
    • Mr Spidla does not agree with social NGOs who have criticised the relaunch of the Lisbon agenda – he reconfirms that the revamped strategy is based on an equilibrium between the economic, the social and the environmental dimensions.
    • The Czech ex-prime minister sees lessons for the EU-15 from the experiences in the new member states: “It is possible to realise deep reforms and to be in good shape after these reforms have been implemented”.
  • Labour reforms and flexibility:
    • “Flexibility and security are not in contradiction,” says Mr Spidla, pointing to the examples of Denmark and Austria.
  • European social model:
    • The commissioner believes in the existence of a European social model, based on common values such as universality and “active inclusion”. He thinks the model is in need of reform but not the underlying values: “les valeurs restent, les institutions changent”.
    • Mr Spidla also told EURACTIV that he would be willing to address the French Assembly and the German Bundestag on the need for labour reforms if he were to be asked.

Read the full interview (in French only)

The EU's Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla  was prime minister of the Czech Republic from 2002 to 2004. Before that he was the minister of labour and social affairs in his country.

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