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Labour markets reform agenda

The crisis has reminded us that European economies are closely interconnected, particularly as part of the single market. At the same time, EU member states are diverse, so each has to find its own reform path. We can succeed in achieving more convergence towards growth and more social cohesion across the EU, if all EU countries are committed to competitiveness and boosting growth and jobs.

Building on the Council 2007 common principles on flexicurity, the EU should focus on building consensus on a European framework for national labour market reforms.

Through the European Semester, the European Commission presents an analysis of the economic and social situation in each member state. It also addresses country-specific recommendations, endorsed by the EU Council.  The challenge is ensuring that this process really has an impact, through effective implementation of country recommendations.

BusinessEurope believes that, through this process, Europe must focus on policies aiming at bringing back economic growth through structural labour market reforms leading to a job-rich recovery.

Social partners’ role in the European Semester is increasingly important. EU and national social partners are now more closely associated with the yearly cycle of interaction between the Commission and Council’s relevant bodies with respect to the preparation of country reports and country-specific recommendations.

Timely and meaningful involvement of social partners throughout the European Semester and at various levels is key to improve engagement in the design of policies/reforms thereby facilitating their ownership and successful implementation in a way that balances the interests of workers and employers.

To steer the reform process, the EU should set up a fresh approach on benchmarking, where the Council, Commission and social partners could discuss effective ways of making progress at national level.


Anna Kwiatkiewicz

Senior Adviser
+32 2 237 65 92
Last updated: 21 January 2019