Nordic labour market models and the Social Pillar – complementary or colliding?

NEWS Published

SOCIAL PILLAR The Nordic employer organizations organised a seminar in Brussels where invited representatives from the EU institutions, industry and trade union discussed their views on the Social Pillar taking into account the Nordic labour market models.

Bild 2.

Can new social rights – as proposed in the Social Pillar – really foster sustainable growth and jobs in Europe? Is the approach of the EU Commission compatible with the already well-functioning Nordic labour markets and social dialogues? Is the cause of social and economic divergences in Europe due to a lack of social regulations and rights or is it found in a lack of competitiveness and structural reforms?

To discuss these topics, the Nordic employer organizations organised a seminar in Brussels where invited representatives from the EU institutions, industry and trade union discussed their views on the Social Pillar taking into account the Nordic labour market models. Among the panellists were Ruth Paserman, Deputy Head of Cabinet, European Commission; Ambassador Vibeke Pasternak Jørgensen, Permanent Representation of Denmark to the EU; Margrethe Husebø, Head of Employment Law and Employee Relations Sector, Statoil ASA; Markus Penttinen, Head of International Affairs, Akava; Gunnar Hökmark, Member of the European Parliament, EPP Group and Morten Løkkegaard, Member of the European Parliament, ALDE Group. The seminar was moderated by Jorge Valero, journalist.

Ruth Paserman started the discussion by stating that the idea behind the Social Pillar is to have a fitness check of the current legal framework, to identify and fill existing gaps to meet future social challenges. Gaps should be counteracted by means of access to adequate social protection, equal opportunities and gender balance. Paserman furthermore stated that the 20 principles accompanying the Social Pillar could be tools for this progress however, social partners’ voice is important since these principles are foremost considered national competence which is why the EU Commission also has made the offer to go into dialogue on this issue.
– There is no interest in creating a common European labour market model, but some things can be improved and the social partners play an important role in the social legislative work, Paserman highlighted.

Vibeke Pasternak Jørgensen underlined that there is a need for reform to future-proof the labour market, but that the Nordic approaches works smoothly characterizing less governmental interventions leaving social partners to work out the practical arrangements and agreements. For this reason, the Danish government would like to emphasize that the Social Pillar is not a legally binding document but plays a role in setting out the political vision in Europe.
– The Social Pillar will be supported in the Council, though it is vital to support the division of competences. It is essential that the Social Pillar does not collide with national – and Nordic – models, said Pasternak Jørgensen.

Gunnar Hökmark asked whether there is a European social model, in the light of the various labour market models taking place in Eastern Europe, Southern Europe as well as United Kingdom and Ireland. The Nordic countries have their own too. Figures show that the situation is very different in terms of employment rate, wages, workers participation, gender balance and childcare benefits.
– I am positive that 28 Pillars are both more stable and effective than one joint Pillar, since they are based on existing conditions and traditions in each Member State. Also, European legislation is about finding compromises, we cannot propose a European track if we are not prepared to compromise, Hökmark put forward.

Hökmark furthermore stated that there is a need for common legislation of the EU internal market, but what regards social legislation, a compromise will not satisfy anyone due to the asymmetric reality of family politics.

Morten Løkkegaard stressed that the EU is all about solidarity, so the question is how to practice solidarity in the Union. Just because some have different views on the Social Pillar it does not imply that they are not solidary. In Denmark, we have much to thank the trade unions for, since social partners are able to have a constructive dialogue. Worth noting though, is that one model does not fit all due to cultural, political and economic differences.
– One must simply get its own house in order to create social welfare as well as solidarity. Hence, reforms at national level must take place to be able to increase social integration and combat inequalities. The Social Pillar is not the answer.

Margrethe Husebø discussed the Norwegian model from a business perspective and stressed that if new principles, directives or regulations interfering with the national models were settled, the incentives to create good solutions for businesses and employees are markedly reduced. There is a significant risk that we will not find solutions suited for rapid shift in market and economic conditions if more bureaucracy is put on employers. For example, we know that many companies in the oil service sector have agreed with trade unions during the last years to lower wages for workers on temporary basis. This has been necessary to avoid redundancies and in worst cases bankruptcy. One simply must take into account the national circumstances.

Markus Penttinen highlighted that Nordic trade unions will always be in favor of reforms necessary to enable a flexible development of the labour market to ensure future welfare. But for the internal market to be able to work properly and bring growth to all countries, some common rules are needed. We named the Social Pillar to counter the development with an aggressive growing populism in Europe.
– The Social Pillar will not lead to a harmonization of the labour markets in the EU. It is a question about minimum standards, said Penttinen.

The Nordic employer organizations have moreover written a joint statement on the Social Pillar.


Ladda ner


NEWS Published:

Review the Swedish Exemption Regarding Financial Transactions

TAX The VAT exemption regarding financial transactions is often used in Sweden as an argument to raise taxes in the financial sector. However, the exemption is harming the business climate as well as growth and development.
NEWS Published:

EU lose much of its attraction without the single market

EU A fully developed single market is central to fight climate change, promote sustainable development, to fully harness the potential of digitalisation and strengthen Europe’s competitiveness. Without the single market, the EU would lose much of its attraction.
NEWS Published:

Proposals for competitiveness

REPORT The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise, in co-operation with its experts and membership organizations, has produced concrete proposals for measures to ensure that Europe will maintain its competitiveness in the global arena.
NEWS Published:

How EU-decisions affect Swedish companies

REPORT The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise has evaluated how the major decisions taken within the EU during the last mandate period affect Swedish companies. Our evaluation shows that 24 of the 57 legal acts we have chosen to look at have been positive for Swedish companies.
NEWS Published:

SME-companies in the digital economy

EU 24 million small and mid-sized businesses are the greatest asset within EU. "Regulations must be dealt with to give SME-companies the opportunity to reach their full potential", says  Anna-Lena Bohm, chairman of BusinessEuropes SME:s and Entrepreneurship committee.
NEWS Published:

SME-companies in the digital economy

BUSINESS There are 24 million small and mid-sized businesses, so called SME businesses, in Europe. These companies are a great – if not the greatest – asset when it comes to tackling todays economical and social challenges.
NEWS Published:

The Nordic countries need to block EU assault on tax veto

TAX For countries with a common currency and a limited common budget, it is particularly important to be able to pursue an active national fiscal policy when an external shock is encountered, writes Claes Hammarstedt.
NEWS Published:

Artificial intelligence on everybody’s mind

EVENT Artificial intelligence is on everybody’s mind in the EU capital. The European Commission recently launched its strategy for artificial intelligence, which focuses on promoting research and development of AI across European sectors.
NEWS Published:

AI made in EU

JOINT EFFORT The EU-commission has presented a joint effort with Member States to promote the development and use of artificial intelligence, AI, in Europe. To strengthen AI-technology and uptake in Europe is welcome. Swedish Enterprise believes that the conditions within Europe must be strengthened in order to successfully improve the global competitiveness of our companies. Here are our thoughts and proposals.
NEWS Published:

Swedish expert represents European industry in expert group on AI

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise’s digital expert Carolina Brånby is representing BusinessEurope in the European Commission High Level Expert Group on Artificial Intelligence, AI HLEG. Their role is drafting ethical guidelines, and to create recommendations on how to strengthen the uptake of AI within the EU.
NEWS Published:

What impact of the Social Pillar on EU prosperity?

The EU’s approach to social policy is currently changing. In November 2017, the European Pillar of Social Rights (the Social Pillar) was proclaimed as a visionary document setting up goals for an upward convergence in this area. In this year’s State of Union address, the president of the EU-commission Jean-Claude Juncker asserted that “It is time we turned the good intentions that we proclaimed at the Gothenburg Social Summit into law”. And, as a matter of fact, this process is well under way.
NEWS Published:

The entrepreneurial perspective is being neglected in the EU digitalisation process

The digital single market is a hot topic in the EU right now. Sweden has plenty of confidence when it comes to digitalisation, which does by its nature transcends all borders. The government’s overall goal is for Sweden to be best in the world at using the opportunities offered by digitalisation. But unfortunately the entrepreneurial perspective usually comes second when the European countries attempts to create a digital inner market.
NEWS Published:

American tariffs hurt Swedish and European industry

"President Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports is very unfortunate. It will hurt Swedish industry both directly and indirectly", says Carola Lemne, Director General of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise.
NEWS Published:

The EU-commission wants to go big on AI

AI  The US and China are way ahead of Europe regarding development of autonomous computer systems. That disadvantage must change if European business and industry is to retain its competitive edge into the future, writes Olof Erixon, Senior legal counsel.
NEWS Published:

EU – the clearest voice for free trade

In the beginning of May, the Free Market Road Show (FMRS) took place in Stockholm. Jens Hedström, Head of Brussels Office, International Director, Swedish Enterprise, was one of the panellists together with PJ Anders Linder, CEO Axess Foundation, the British economist Richard Teather among others.
NEWS Published:

Sweden should oppose the digital tax proposals

TAXES The Swedish Government should oppose the controversial digital tax proposals from the EU Commission and work with the OECD to find an internationally acceptable solution.
NEWS Published:

Controversial EU tax proposal on digital services causes concern for small exporting economies

TAX The Director Generals for the Swedish, Danish and Finnish business federations have, in a joint letter addressed to the Finance Ministers of their respective countries, expressed their concern for the EU Commissions digital tax plan.
NEWS Published:

Protectionism only produces losers

The impact of globalisation has been positive for most of the world’s population. However, the economic integration of economies also accelerates change which puts increasing pressure on societies to be able to adapt to such change. We need to stand up for the clear advantages of globalisation, while making sure our societies have the flexibility necessary to adapt to rapid changes in technology and labor markets. These were the main conclusion at a seminar about free trade and globalization in times of protectionism, organized by The Society for Business and Politics in the European Parliament.
NEWS Published:

Let’s talk about the losers of protectionism

European politicians have a big role to play in communicating why globalisation matters. We need politicians that are brave enough to talk about the losers of protectionism, not just the losers of globalisation, writes Carola Lemne.
NEWS Published:

The European Commission: Swedish companies best at innovation

Within the framework for the European Commission’s EU Industry Day February 22-23 in Brussels, Teknikföretagen and RISE was chosen to present how Swedish enterprise and academy cooperate around invention under the headline TESTBED Europe, accelerating innovation and strengthening eco-systems. The seminar proved to be one of the events most popular, and gathered experts from all over Europe. The participants all agreed that Sweden is the leading example of innovation, but why?