The document is the report of the reflection seminar EAPN held in Porto on 29 and 30 April 2004 on the current trends in the European Employment Strategy.
The seminar was the opportunity to share thinking and analyses, and compare views on the inseparable issues of employment and social inclusion in the European Union. The event brought together more than 120 network members (including 80 Portuguese members) who are actively involved in following-up on employment and inclusion policies, as well as the Structural Funds, in both the “old” and “new” Member States. Representatives from European and national institutions, the research community and the social partners also informed the debates.
Rising unemployment in the European Union is bringing a growth in casual hire-and-fire, as well as structural measures that are throwing social protection into question. How will these trends pan out with the enlargement of the Union? Employment is often talked of as if economic growth alone was a cure-all, redistribution through social transfer payments is not in the equation, and human and social factors unimportant. But, without a proactive policy, economic growth alone cannot drive improvements in employment and social protection.