Although linguistically somewhat strange, “flexicurity”, the combination of labour market flexibility and security for employees, has become a much praised cornerstone of European labour market policies. Obviously, in an environment with rapid technical progress and frequently changing market conditions, employers need to manage their labour force flexibly. In order to achieve this flexibility without creating an unbearable situation for employees, security is the second pillar of the concept. Security refers, however, to “employability” rather than safety from dismissal. As such, the concept looks like an innovative Europeanway of consolidating economic and social interests, although some argue that much flexibility is gained while the security aspect is being neglected. The concept has been successfully adopted in some European countries, notably Denmark and the Netherlands. However, each country has to find its own concept of “flexicurity” using a distinct combination of instruments that fit the national institutional, social and civic context.
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