The Nordic ministers for labour have announced their desire for closer co-operation with the EU with regard to the development of the European Pillar for Social Rights.
Minister of Justice and Employment (Finland) Jari Lindström, Minister of Industry, Labour, Trade, Energy and Foreign Affairs (Greenland) Vittus Qujaukitsoq, and Minister of Employment (Sweden) Ylva Johansson.
“A European pillar for social rights is relevant to all nations within the EU and EEA. Effective labour markets and welfare systems are important. Similarly, good working conditions are not only fundamental for our citizens, but they are also necessary if European countries are to produce sustainable arenas in which businesses can grow.” These is an excerpt from the declaration of the Nordic ministers for labour that was presented at their meeting in Helsinki on 29 November.
The ministers believe it is now more important than ever that Europe comes together to discuss how politicians can better target their efforts to create jobs and ensure social development in all the EU’s member states. In addition, the ministers emphasise the importance of delivering solutions that respond to the future needs of both citizens and nations.
“The ministers’ EU initiative is just one example of stronger joint Nordic involvement in matters where the interests of the Nordic countries coincide. I’m convinced that this will contribute to a greater understanding of solutions that benefit not only the Nordic Region, but Europe at large,” says Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers Dagfinn Høybråten.
He also emphasised that Nordic experience proves that it is possible to further welfare while also creating jobs and growth. A strong Europe should be built on the interplay between growth, competitiveness, and solidarity.
A social rights pillar must also respect national labour market models, social solutions, and variety in political evaluation. This is especially important for the Nordic labour market. The parties’ independence and their collective bargaining rights in relation to wages and other conditions of employment must be upheld. The key roles played by the participants in the Nordic labour market have been crucial to its positive development and for the success of Nordic social solutions.
Former Danish minister and EU Commissioner Poul Nielson was asked by the Nordic Council of Ministers to conduct a review of the Nordic labour market. He had fourteen recommendations for the Nordic countries, which he presented at the ministerial meeting. Nielson believes the Nordic model has much to offer when it comes to EU-level policy-making, yet he is concerned by the frequent challenges the EU poses to the Nordic model. His recommendation is that the Nordic countries join forces to counter such pressures with a concerted effort to increase understanding and respect for the Nordic model.
“Joint Nordic interests need to be safeguarded by way of a more targeted and proactive approach to social dialogue and the legislative process within the EU,” Poul Nielson warns.
Declaration by the Nordic ministers for labour: