EU employment ministers decided, on 1 February, during their informal meeting in Brdo (Slovenia), to launch a "mission for flexicurity" to ensure the "full integration of the common principles of flexicurity into the EU", as defined in the December Employment Council. This mission's mandate is to help member states promote the visibility of the common principles of flexicurity at all levels and find ways to facilitate this integration into the Lisbon strategy.

"Above all it is a question of seeing how, in practice, the principles of flexicurity can be transcribed. What are the good ideas to be retained, the difficulties to be resolved," said one of the mission's members "The important point is the connection between the reality and the principles." It is also a question of ensuring the "proper interpretation of the principles in the national reform report". Though the mission does not aim to foster discussion of the common principles, it will, however, have a key role in their "implementation". It will issue recommendations, which could be endorsed (under the French EU Presidency) by employment ministers in December, and possibly by the European Council.

The mission will visit several member states between March and September. "It is difficult to visit all the countries," says the Commission. "We also have to be asked." But it will visit "at least one for each approach to flexicurity". and the mission is expected to go to Spain, France, Poland and Sweden.

An interim report will be sent to the Council of employment ministers in October., with the final report handed to the Council in December.

The mission...

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