Making Europe a better place to live and work
'The Foundation's work has contributed more efficiently to the EU social policy agenda in 2002, in particular to equal opportunities for men and women, financial participation and temporary agency work,' says Raymond-Pierre Bodin, the Foundation's Director. 'We still, however, see a strong need to link the Foundation's analysis of living conditions to both the changing nature of employment, work organisation, and working conditions and to the modernisation of social protection and social welfare services.'
Striking the right balance between the need to create a welfare system that looks after the people of Europe and the ability to pay for it, formed the basis for discussions at the first Foundation Forum on 'Challenges to the European social model', which took place in Dublin in August 2002. The event gathered 14 ministers from the EU and candidate countries as well as high-level socio-economic policy actors and thinkers in Europe, and was the first of a series of events every second year contributing to the improvement of living and working conditions in Europe.
In 2002, monitoring activities have been incorporated into each core area of the Foundation's work, marking a shift in the balance between monitoring activities and strategic research. Also, 2002 saw concerted efforts to consolidate and present Foundation research on specific topics in a user-friendly format, drawing on existing Foundation research and providing an overview of work on specific themes linked to the EU social policy agenda. Three Foundation papers have been presented to date, entitled: Quality of work and employment in Europe, Access to employment for vulnerable groups and Quality of women's work
and employment. In 2003, Foundation papers under the themes of 'Managing diversity', 'Supporting social inclusion' and 'Examining the changing use of time' will be published.
The new tool for monitoring and reporting on living conditions and quality of life throughout Europe was developed during 2002. The new survey, to be carried out in 2003, will focus on employment, economic resources, family life, community life, health and education. The relationships between these areas will be another important aspect. Access to, and quality of, social provisions such as health care will also be a key topic. This monitoring and reporting instrument is being progressively extended to the candidate countries.
The European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions is a tripartite EU body, whose role is to provide key actors in social policy making with findings, knowledge and advice drawn from comparative research.