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Trade Union News from Finland
Finland, Denmark, Germany and Sweden have successfully reformed their labour markets in the 2000s

Helsinki (21.05.2012 - Juhani Artto) In the 2000s, Finland, Denmark, Germany and Sweden have waged an active labour market policy. They have continuously reformed their labour markets in order to balance supply and demand. All four countries have succeeded fairly well in this demanding task, at least when comparing their achievements with other EU Member States. In these four countries employment rates are higher and unemployment rates lower than in EU Member States on average.

A new study*, commissioned and published by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy in Finland (MEE), analyses labour market reforms in these four countries from 2000 to 2010. The findings and conclusions of the 106-page study are summarized by the authors as follows.

"In Denmark, especially innovative is the combination of broad activation policy, relatively generous unemployment benefits and loose employment protection regulation, known as the Danish flexicurity model. Denmark has been especially successful in integration of young people, the general employment rate is high and the labour market dynamic."

"Germany has experienced a continuum of systematic reforming. Germany has, due to the broad reforms, improved the overall labour market performance."

"Fostering the long-term labour supply and effective integration of the difficult groups of people to the labour market has been emphasised in Sweden. In Sweden the general and elderly employment rates are high and the labour market dynamic."

"The Finnish transition security and education on ones own initiative with unemployment benefits can be considered as innovative reforms. Finland has succeeded in improving the employment of the elderly and also the female employment rate is high."

*Study indicates that long-term approach is needed on labour market reforms, MEE 10.05.2012