A Europe for jobs and inclusive growth

There must be fair working conditions in both the Swedish and the European labour markets. The Government is pursuing efforts for a more social Europe with determination, and on 17 November 2017 the Prime Minister will co-host a summit in Sweden on fair jobs and growth, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Photo: Martina Huber/Government Offices

Europe needs more and better jobs. Well-managed public finances and high employment for both women and men, and an efficient internal market, are necessary for sustainable growth and prosperity for all. The Government is working for a more social Europe, where growth and social fairness go hand in hand. One important element of this work is the summit that the Prime Minister and the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will jointly host in Gothenburg on 17 November 2017. Bringing together Member States, the social partners and other key actors at the highest level will enable dialogue and increased understanding of what can be done to promote fair jobs and growth.

Jobs and inclusive growth in a competitive Europe

To meet future needs and to maintain the EU's competitiveness, joint initiatives are needed in research, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as improved conditions for industry transition. Trade barriers in the internal market must be combated and discriminatory regulatory requirements abolished, while high levels of protection for workers, public health and the environment are maintained. The EU needs to adapt the internal market's regulatory framework and instruments to the digital economy so that it is open to the world and meets the need for free, cross-border data flows. In this way, consumers and European companies gain access to more markets and the best technologies, services and IT solutions.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • the initiatives within the framework of the Single Market Strategy for goods and services help to remove unnecessary obstacles to free movement within the goods and services sector, such as differences in national regulations, discrimination or bans;
  • the EU Digital Single Market Strategy results in European companies being able to create jobs and sustainable growth and supporting new business models;
  • the negotiations on free trade agreements with third countries that have begun continue, the free trade agreement with Japan is concluded and the free trade agreement with Canada is implemented; and
  • the investments in the EU's next Framework Programme for Research and Innovation make a greater contribution to solving societal challenges, providing increased competitiveness, more jobs and better conditions to adapt to the business solutions of the future.

Decent and fair conditions in the labour market

Conditions in the European labour market must be fair and decent. People moving to other countries for work is positive; it contributes to greater prosperity and better living standards. But this must not lead to companies competing on lower wages, poor working conditions or lapses in safety in the workplace. To protect workers' conditions, companies' competitiveness and the legitimacy of free movement, cross-border work must be combined with the fundamental principle of equal pay for equal work and conducted in line with good working conditions and a good working environment. This creates conditions for sustainable growth that will benefit everyone.

The Government has worked to ensure a greater role in EU cooperation for fair working conditions and a more social Europe. For example, the Commission has announced a European Pillar of Social Rights and proposed a review of the Posting of Workers Directive. The Government's starting point remains that the competence of the Member States, the national labour market models, the autonomy of the social partners and the status of collective agreements must be respected.

The people of Europe must be safe in the knowledge that their social benefits and rights are protected when they are looking for work or study places within the EU. Social security schemes are ultimately a national concern, but they should be coordinated within the EU in a way that promotes the movement of EU citizens, workers and self-employed people.

The Government will work to ensure that:

  • the principle of equal pay for equal work is confirmed in line with applicable laws and collective agreements in the country of employment; foreign workers must, as far as possible, be treated in the same way as domestic workers, particularly with regard to fundamental work and employment conditions within the framework of areas covered by the Posting of Workers Directive, while respecting free movement;
  • the European Pillar of Social Rights contributes to a more prosperous and inclusive EU; growth, raised productivity and increased employment go hand in hand with social progress such as social security, more women in the labour market and the opportunity to develop in working life; and
  • coordination of the social security schemes is developed and promotes dialogue between the Member States, and the movement of people within the EU, particularly of workers; although the provisions on coordination do not involve common EU schemes, they should be designed to strike a reasonable balance between the individual's social security on the one hand and the division of responsibility and costs between Member States on the other.

Strengthened gender equality and transition opportunities for the jobs of today and tomorrow

Strengthened gender equality is both a matter of rights and a prerequisite for increasing Europe's economic growth and global competitiveness. When women are outside of the labour market, growth potential is wasted. We need to create better opportunities for both women and men to combine work and family life, and better opportunities for a higher level of labour market participation, primarily among women.

Access to lifelong learning creates good conditions for a flexible labour market, which is a prerequisite for the EU's global competitiveness. The need for continuing education and training throughout people's entire lives is increasing, not least as a result of society's digitalisation and automation. People need to develop at the same pace as technological developments and be matched to new types of jobs.

The Government will work:

  • for gender-equal and modern parenting that takes account of different family forms and ensures high labour force participation, among women in particular, by promoting gender equality; efforts in this area should be pursued within the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the New Start for Working Parents initiative; and
  • to ensure that individuals' development, lifelong learning, civic engagement and critical thinking, and the important role of vocational education and training, are emphasised in coming proposals within the New Skills Agenda for Europe and the European Pillar of Social Rights; the initiatives should highlight measures to enhance skills among workers and job-seekers with a low level of education, and measures to best include newly arrived immigrants in the Member States' education systems.