Flexicurity as one model of labour market policy

Essay, 2009

21 Pages, Grade: 1,3


1. List of abbreviations

2. List of graphs

3. Introduction

4. The definition and concept offlexicurity
4.1. Concept of flexicurity in the EU
4.2. Danish Flexicurity Model
4.3. Debate of Flexicurity Model in the EU

5. How to implement flexicurity
5.1. Flexible and secure contractual arrange ments
5.2. Extensive strategies for life long learning
5.3. Effective active labour market measures & modern systems of social security

6.The eight common principles

7.Flexicurity as a combination offlexibility and security
7.1. Dimensions of flexibility
7.1.1. Internal flexibility
7.1.2. External flexibility
7.1.3. Complementary and substitutionary variations
7.2. Dimensions of Security
7.2.1. Secured subsistence income
7.2.2, Integration into systems of social security
7.2.3 Employability
7.2.4. Interdependence wit hint he dimensions of social security

8. The Social Dialogue

9. Conclusion


1. List of abbreviations

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

2. List of graphs

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

(Source: Keller, B. / Seifert, H., 2008 p. 7)

3. Introduction

Nowadays, living and working conditions of EU citizens alter in a very fast pace due to globalization, accelerated technological progress and demographic change. Therefore, challenges European economies have to cope with are for example:

- Increasing international trade and thus worldwide economic integration,
- An expansion on global reserves of workforce,
- An adjustment of labour division between industrialized and emerging markets and
- A successive significance of human capital in course of a community of knowledge. On the one hand, to remain competitive this change1 means that firms within EU countries have to establish new markets while the requirements on mastering production processes and forms of organization increase. As far as employees are concerned, they have to be willed and capable to tune in to those labour market changes. Thus, life long learning and mobility become the very basics of success. In the same time higher pressure on wages and employment of low level qualified people can be seen in course of ongoing processes in job specialization.

On the other hand, there has been an establishment of awareness within Europe of a common social model which carries the characteristics of:

- Social cohesion, solidarity and the abatement of social poverty and discrimination,
- Securing general access to a health and education system as well as broad social covering and
- A significant role of the public sector to provide the necessary infrastructure.2

This shows that social security within the European society is strongly anchored which forms a certain constant in the approach of new reforms. Hence, flexicurity as an essence of the adaptability pillar of the EES3 has the task to strike the balance of a more flexible labour market to preserve European competitiveness with security of the social model.4 To achieve the objective of the Lisbon Strategy of full employment, enhancing quality and productivity at work as well as to underpin social and territorial cohesion flexibility and security are absolute mutually supportive. That is, to remain competitive only a dynamic, innovation oriented and business friendly economy provides those necessary resources that enable also the maintenance of social governmental structures.5

But these structures in themselves are the basics to achieve the aim of the Lisbon Strategy. Therefore, the EU builds upon the concept of flexicurity to face this significant economic and social challenge. This paper will focus on the concept of flexicurity and the arrangement of integrated policy measures and not on existing results of flexicurity. Hence, the first step will be to define and describe the flexicurity approach within the EU before a detailed analysis of the debate and concept of flexicurity will be made. Based on that, the pillars flexibility and security will be closely explained. In chapter eight the social dialogue will ultimately discuss to what extent social dialogues contribute to flexicurity before a conclusive statement frames the end of this paper.

4. The definition and concept of flexicurity

It is widely agreed that flexicurity cannot be defined as a one size fits all concept but rather as a broader concept resulting from several descriptions where flexicurity shall be the answer to an upcoming challenge that contains structural reforms. 6 Possibly the best known definition refers to Wilthagen and Tros who give flexicurity a normative definition as they see it as an integrated strategy "...that attempts, synchronically and in a deliberate way, to enhance the flexibility of labour markets, work organisations and labour relations on the one hand, and to enhance security — employment security and social security — notably for weaker groups in and outside the labour market on the other hand."7 This definition reflects purely the core of this thought that goes conform to the future policy of finding the balance between flexibility and security. Hence, the purpose is a combination of employment and income security with flexible labour markets, working organizations and relations.8

4.1. Concept of flexicurity in the EU

The policy concept of flexicurity was first introduced in the early 1990s in Denmark under the administration of the Poul Nyrup Rasmussen the former Danish social democratic Prime Minister from 1992 until 2001. In quite similar forms it was also implemented in other Nordic countries that are characterized by strong traditions of social dialogue. In contrast to Denmark, the policy of Netherlands labour market is broadly seen as guided by flexicurity concerns where the Dutch Flexibility and Security Act of 1999 depicts the very obvious example. As the EU has to challenge with changes the EU Commission sees labour market policy of both nations Netherlands and Denmark as examples where other EU MS can learn from. That is, where the discussion of a general EU flexicurity concept has its origin. However, the Danish flexicurity model has attracted the most attention and shows that labour market flexibility and social security can coexist with each other.9

4.2. Danish Flexicurity Model

Denmark as pioneer in terms of flexicurity shows stable economic growth, high employment rate, concentration of small and medium enterprises, low marginalisation at low job protection, relatively high jobless substitute rate and an active labour market policy with special focus on rights and duties in reference to training and advanced training. In this way, Denmark chooses a way of flexibility as that of the Anglo Saxon welfare states and social security as Scandinavian countries provide. Thus, consequences of this change for citizens shall be minimized. Furthermore, Denmark succeeded to connect low work protection with workstations of good quality and high employment security.10 This can be proved by statistical data where Denmark had in 2007 an overall employment rate of 77.3 % whereas Germany had only 68.9 %.11 In the same time Denmark had also the highest expenditures for its active labour market policy among the EU MS. Nevertheless, this combination of low work protection, high social and employment security is a result of historical and institutional development as well as a number of social compromises. But due to different institutional and legislative frameworks among the EU MS the Danish Flexicurity Model can only be used as an example of good practise and not as a precise measurement to combine flexibility and security on a level of national constitution.12


1 Hereinafter this "change" signals the development of economic, social and demographic aspects

2 Cf. Europa Union Deutschland, 200 6

3 Cf. Bekker S., 2007, p. 3

4 Cf. Europa Union Deutschland, 200 6

5 Cf. EMCO, 200 6, p. 1

6 Cf. EMCO, 200 6, p. 3

7 Wilthagen, T. / Tros, F., 2003, p. 4

8 Cf. Wilthagen, T., 2008, p. 1

9 Cf. Wilthagen, T. / Bekker, S., 2008, p. 85


Cf. Bock-Schappelwein, J., 200 6, p. 9 f.

11 Cf. OECD, 2008, p. 33 6

12 Cf. Bock-Schappelwein, J., 200 6, p. 9 f.

Excerpt out of 21 pages


Flexicurity as one model of labour market policy
Berlin School of Economics and Law
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ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
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Internal Flexibility, External Flexibility, Security, Social Dialogue
Quote paper
Dennis Sauert (Author), 2009, Flexicurity as one model of labour market policy, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/138911


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