European labour markets face a range of significant challenges for which the current institutional and political answers are at the cost of the quality of jobs, quality of employment opportunities and workers' rights. Benchmarking Working Europe 2007 shows how emphasis should be put on job quality, including wage growth, decent working conditions, better training distribution enhancing training satisfaction, but also on efficient industrial relations for which workers' involvement in shaping their future is a crucial factor.

Benchmarking Working Europe 2007 concentrates on the issue of flexicurity* as a mainstreamed issue and argues that there is a need to ensure a proper balance between flexibility and security. Cutting back on labour and social standards clearly cannot be a successful strategy to face up to globalisation. On the contrary, to maintain Europe's current advantages higher investment in education and learning as well as better social services are required. More effort is also needed in the areas of innovation, research and development.

About Benchmarking Working Europe:

To ensure that the benefits of progress are shared more equitably, it is not enough merely to defend minimum standards: rising standards must be promoted through benchmarking. With the reports on Benchmarking Working Europe, the ETUI-REHS and the ETUC are seeking to contribute to the practical implementation of a social benchmarking process. "A genuine benchmarking exercise applied to the world of labour and social affairs, grounded in effective labour and social rights will continue to be one of the most important elements in taking the European project forward", this seventh edition of the report concludes.

The ETUI-REHS's benchmarking Working Europe report is an annual publication that is designed to provide a contribution to the European Union Spring summit. The report provides detailed information on the following areas of particular relevance to the world of labour in the European Union (EU): flexicurity, macro-economic developments, employment, wages and income developments, social protection and flexicurity, workers' satisfaction with training opportunities, information consultation and worker participation, corporate governance, European social dialogue and labour law, EU trade and competitiveness and the working environment and occupational health and safety.

*Flexicurity describes a situation - a reform, strategy or arrangement - whereby labour market flexibility is combined with security for workers. In order to have flexible labour markets, be it with regard to working time, changing jobs, or tasks, there needs to be a certain degree of security that will enable workers to make the necessary transitions and enhance their well-being in the long run.

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