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Jørgen Kosmo, Labour Party, Norway


Bottlenecks in the labour market? 

With such an open economy as that in Norway and the dramatic technological developments we are experiencing, we must go in for great adaptability in working life. An education/training system that quickly detects the need for different types of labour force and adapts itself to that need will be a central factor in resolving bottlenecks in the labour market in the long term.

In the short term, an effective PES that includes job placement abroad and the placement of foreign labour in jobs at home will be a central feature. Here, Nordic cooperation is important for the mobility of the labour force in the Nordic countries.

Norway has good experience of using a labour force from our Nordic neighbours, such as in the health sector and the building and construction industry. Selective recruitment from abroad of nurses and doctors is important to ensure access to skills for which there is a great need at present. Cooperation on job placement via EURES seems to work well. 

A labour market for all? 

Yes, by a broad, conscious concentration on education/training, it should be possible to avoid such lines of demarcation. The high level of education in the Nordic countries gives us a good start. In-service training of employees in all age groups in the use of IT should be self-evident and an important responsibility of the social partners. In addition, it is important that new IT products are more accessible and user-friendly. 

Cooperation within the Nordic…? 

Cooperation in the labour market field has been a central factor in Nordic cooperation throughout the whole period since WW2. This has been a favourable experience, and we have developed our common culture and better mutual understanding. This is and will be valuable. The role of the EU is important in respect of the formal barriers that inhibit mobility, including the recognition of educational qualifications, pension rules, etc.

When it comes to ongoing cooperation regarding topics like the transfer of knowledge and specific cooperation on job placement, the EU will never quite be able to take over the role played by Nordic cooperation. EU employment strategy is based to a considerable degree on the Nordic Model for labour market policy. I believe the close relationship between macro-economic policy and employment policy in the Nordic countries will also provide a useful model for EU developments in the future. 

The role of the public employment?

We have, in Norway a very good and nationwide public employment service, which integrates a number of labour market services including various schemes and unemployment benefit. We will continue to have such a PES to ensure good service to those unemployed and with occupational disabilities. In the future, I believe a more differentiated service will be required to respond to the needs of job-seekers and employers. Good Internet systems should mean that many more people will be able to cater for their own requirements without intervention from the PES, while there will be new groups of immigrants and suchlike in major need of assistance.

Answers from:

Ove Hygum, Social Democratic Party, Denmar

Tarja Filatov, Social Democratic Party, Finland

Páll Pétursson, Progress Party, Iceland

Jørgen Kosmo, Labour Party, Norway

Mona Sahlin, Social Democratic Party, Sweden


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