The Informal Council meeting will take place 19-21 January in Villach, Austria. The main two items are flexicurity and the social dimension of the revised Lisbon strategy.
Commissioner Vladimir Spidla joined European Employment Ministers, European social partners and NGO representatives at the Council to emphasise flexicurity's potential benefits for all. He outlined that his idea of flexicurity is based on three points: that it is geared more towards protection of people rather than protection of jobs; that Europe needs both new types of security and greater flexibility; and that flexicurity is based on cohesion of the whole social system. This last point reflects the importance of the role of social protection, the social partners, employment policies and the State itself.
The Informal Council also discussed the social dimension of the Lisbon strategy. The Commissioner welcomed the forthcoming streamlining of the open method of coordination, which allows Member States to learn from each other by exchanging data and information on practices in social protection. But he called for more than this, saying that in depth analysis is needed, as well as increased public awareness at European level.