Euro watch: sweden sets out sex equality goals

equality has been set out as a priority for the first Swedish Presidency of the
European Union following an informal meeting of  Social Affairs Ministers and the Commissioner for Employment and
Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou in Sweden. The meeting, "Gender
equality and social insurance – an engine for economic growth", set out
conclusions which emphasised the economic arguments.

focused on the need to structure tax, benefit and social security systems. Issues
covered included equality for men and their right to bring up their own

equality goals

said, "Gender equality rules will remain a dead letter unless they are
enforced on the ground". She challenged the member states to enforce
remedial action.

main points arose:

Sustained economic growth in Europe will necessitate an increase in employment

European economic policy and social security structures must be informed by
gender equality goals

Parental insurance schemes must be extended

Child day-care facilities must be available for job and family demands

Sustainable pension schemes are vital to combat poverty

meeting suggested that a European institute for equal opportunities could be a
useful body to establish, particularly to monitor and eventually remove pay
differentials and exchange good practice.

an unusual result for an informal meeting, the conclusions, in particular the
social dimension of pensions and the need to combat poverty, will be taken to the
Stockholm Summit which begins on March 23.

agenda priorities

Lisbon a year ago, the European Council defined an ambitious strategy to make
the EU "the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world,
capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater
social cohesion".

commission has published a report ordered by the Council: Realising The
European Union’s Potential: Consolidating and extending the Lisbon strategy.

proposes adoption of inter-mediary employment targets for the year 2005 in
addition to targets agreed for 2010 at the Lisbon summit. It also pushes for
work on the free movement of people to be speeded up.

lifelong learning and investment policies should also be targeted to close the
IT skills gap. And there should be a coordinated European approach to the
demographic challenge of an ageing population and to social inclusion.


European agreement on teleworking reached

European Social Funds to be directed into human resources – Commission adopts
strategy for investment in people

can be found on the Employment and Social Affairs Directorate website:

Susan Gibas secretary general of the European Human Resource Network, a
cross-sectoral information network for European employers and HR strategists
dealing with issues of employment and the labour market in Europe.  Contact

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