Trick or treat?
A comparison of European job strategies during the crisis.
While the European Union cherishes the flexicurity model as the role model for its employment
strategy, critics claim that the model is not fit for a Europe with ever increasing structural
unemployment. Instead of flexicurity, continental trade unions tend to support government
subsidized short-time working schemes as the way forward for saving employment levels. The
Scandinavian trade unions, however, have usually been leaning towards (varieties of) the flexicurity
Being the role model of flexicurity, Denmark is of special interest when assessing the flexicurity
system. Critics from the left have seen Denmark as a proof of “flexicurity” being a one-sided strategy
helping to improve flexibility only and not giving real security to wage-earners. Is flexicurity in reality
a Trojan horse designed to abolish job protection?
Critics from the right interpret rising unemployment, falling production and public deficits in
Denmark as indicators of too heavy burdens put on tax payers and enterprises in order to finance the
security arrangements. Is flexicurity in reality a way of crowding out effective market based solutions
to growth, distribution and efficiency? Cuts in public budgets and stronger financial discipline are
here seen as the only sound political answers to the economic crisis.
At the same time, the short-time working schemes implemented by the conservative German
government, involving heavy subsidies, have, as it seems, been extremely successful in reducing
unemployment during the crisis. Economists such as Paul Krugman now talk about a German “job
During the seminar German, Danish, Irish and Swedish experts will present new cross-European
studies and assess the different employment policies and their performance during the economic
Donald Storrie, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.
Previously SOFI and the Swedish Ministry of Labour. Author of the report “ Extending flexicurity – The
potential of short-time working schemes”. The report examines the practice of reduced working time
across Europe, and looks at how it is implemented in ten EU member states.
Andranik Tangian, Hans-Böckler Foundation/University of Karlsruhe. In a recent ETUI report Tangian
analyses the relationship between the economic crisis and flexicurity Tangian claims that countries with
high labour flexibility are more damaged by the current crisis than others.
Arena Idé
En del av Arenagruppen / Part of the Arena Group
Drottninggatan 83, 2tr, 111 60 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel.:+46 (0)8 7891168, +46 (0)73 9198959, +46 (0)8 4114242 (fax)
Lena Westerlund, Swedish Trade Union Confederation, will discuss strengths and weaknesses of the
Swedish Labour market model and its main challenges.
Henning Jørgensen, Professor Aalborg University. Jørgensen will present a new paper ‘Danish
”flexicurity” in crisis – or just stress-tested by the crisis?’ Jørgensen asks whether the changes of the
Danish flexicurity system and the surge in Danish unemployment during the crisis is a proof of the
flexicurity system being outdated? He argues that the Flexicurity models as seen in Denmark and
other Nordic countries has a very strong foundation and is capable of handling also the current crisis.
Arenas ekonomiska råd är en verksamhet inom tankesmedjan Arena Idé. Syftet är att utifrån en
radikal och progressiv utgångspunkt bredda den ekonomiska och politiska diskussionen i Sverige. Vi
vill skapa en oberoende arena för kunskapsutveckling och förnyelse av den ekonomiska debatten.
Arenas ekonomiska råd arrangerar månadsvisa seminarier om ekonomiska frågor. Seminarierna är
öppna till sin karaktär och uppläggning. Forskare och perspektiv från olika samhällsvetenskapliga
discipliner är välkomna liksom utredare, journalister och andra intresserade.
Detta är första steget för att utveckla en verksamhet kring ekonomiska frågeställningar inom Arenas
ekonomiska råd i tankesmedjan Arena Idé.
Datum: Måndagen den 24e januari 2011
Tid: 13.30-16.30
Plats: ABF Sveavägen 41, Sandlersalen
OSA till [email protected]
Arena Idé
En del av Arenagruppen / Part of the Arena Group
Drottninggatan 83, 2tr, 111 60 Stockholm, Sweden
Tel.:+46 (0)8 7891168, +46 (0)73 9198959, +46 (0)8 4114242 (fax)