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Press Release
François Biltgen launches the "Restructuring Forum"

Date of release : 24-06-2005

Policy area : Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

The Minister of Labour and Employment, François Biltgen, in his capacity as current President of the European Union’s "Employment and Social Affairs" Council of Ministers, and the European Commission’s Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, Vladimir Špidla, jointly launched the "Restructuring Forum" in Brussels on 23 June 2005.

The "Restructuring Forum" will be charged with monitoring regularly developments at all levels in the different economic sectors and fostering articulation of  different initiatives.

François Biltgen underlined the importance of this forum which is meant to be an exchange and discussion platform where the EU institutions, Member State governments, regional and local authorities and both sides of industry can meet to develop and set up instruments and "toolbox" that can be used to better anticipate and manage change.

In his speech, made before numerous political figures and European and national representatives from both sides of industry, Mr Biltgen outlined to the audience that the Luxembourg Presidency had taken the initiative of bringing together ministers of Employment in an  Informal Council Meeting in Luxembourg on 7 and 8 April to launch an in-depth debate on the restructuring phenomenon.

Representatives from the 25 Member States and from both sides of industry who were present on that occasion analysed the effects of restructuring, as well as the new opportunities offered by economic trends in the different European Union countries.

In this context, the Ministers of Employment favoured a "toolbox" presented by the Luxembourg Presidency as the principle instrument for the successful management – economically and humanly speaking – of restructuring.

The "Restructuring forum" follows on directly from decisions taken by Ministers of Employment during their informal meeting in Luxembourg.

François Biltgen stressed that Europe’s success in future in coping with the challenges of employment becoming more international would depend on the ability of businesses and employees to adapt rapidly to change.

"The ability to adapt and react quickly to a constantly changing socio-economic situation will ensure that businesses in Europe remain competitive. Maintaining, or even improving the quality of labour will depend upon businesses developing and setting up a consistent training and skills development policy." 

At the end of his speech, François Biltgen reiterated the four main conclusions he drew during the informal meeting of Ministers of Labour and Employment on 7 and 8 April:

1) the importance of corporate social responsibility and social dialogue

2) to find a fair balance between economic freedom on the one hand, which allows economic growth, and social welfare on the other, which is vital to dignity of labour and life

3) to breathe life into the idea of "flexicurity" (flexibility + security) and further the shift from "job security" to "employment security"

4) to anticipate business restructuring via greater adaptability, mobility and lifelong training.

This page was last modified on : 24-06-2005

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