Communication event: New Economic Models - The Future of Work

02. Dec 2017
Amsterdam, Netherlands
The European Liberal Forum has the pleasure to invite you at the ALDE Party Congress plenary session entitled “New Economic Models – The Future of Work”, that will take place in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, on 2 December 2017, 15h30-17h30, at the RAI Convention Centre. The overall aim of this initiative is to provide valuable input on the future of work. High-level liberal politicians and experts will engage in a short discussion, followed by a TED Talk style.

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  • Short view

    During the first weekend of December, Amsterdam’s RAI Convention Centre filled up with European Liberals and Democrats for the 38th ALDE Party Congress. ELF was not only visible through a smiling staff and packed publication stand but also through events that were part of the official congress programme.

    One of these events was the plenary session on New Economic Models: The Future of Work. The session was built up in three parts. First, four eminent speakers gave short presentations on what in their views are currently the things we should be focusing on in building future labour markets. This was followed by a lively debate among all the speakers, moderated by Dutch journalist Kamran Ullah. After the panel discussion, the entire audience was welcomed outside the auditorium to discuss the ideas and publications of 5 active ELF member organisations.

    The session was kicked off with ELF President, Dr Jürgen Martens MP, who welcomed everyone to the event and presented the latest ELF publication in the field. The publication, called New Economic Models: Tools for Political Decision Makers Dealing with The Changing European Economies, aims at making relevant issues for our economies tangible and provide a liberal toolbox for decision makers looking for ways to achieve a more effective economy. The future of the labour market is naturally a core challenge that our economies need to deal with, so bringing the publication to the discussion was a good way of kicking off the plenary session.

    The first speaker of the session was the European Commissioner for Mobility and Transport, Violeta Bulc, who shared her view on the future of work being closely connected with the future of transport. The EU has been successful to a big extent because of transport and how easy it has become for EU citizens to stay connected. We can do much more and better, but the EU already has an advantage in how efficiently our logistics networks function. Commissioner Bulc stressed the importance of the word efficiency. It will lead us to losing some jobs, but also providing better conditions for competitiveness, which will lead to new jobs.

    The second speaker was Google’s Public Policy Manager, Georgios Mavros. He stressed how important it is that we understand our history before we start planning for the future. What we can learn from the history is that there have been people in every generation who have expected new innovations to make it difficult for people to adapt. We can also see that a lot of old occupations have vanished. We can however at the same time see that there are a lot of new occupations that have appeared in the meantime. One example, that Mr Mavros mentioned, of an industry we could not have foreseen even 10-15 years ago was the app industry, which now is taken for granted with all the new job titles it has brought with it.

    After Georgios Mavros, it was time for Member of the European Parliament and ELF Vice President, Martina Dlabajová, to share her insights as a Member of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs in the European Parliament. Ms Dlabajová presented the audience her main points for how to create a successful future labour market. First of all, we need to communicate better the opportunities that robotization and automatization bring, instead of only focus on the jobs that will be lost. We need to change our education system and get over the mentality of learning until a certain age and then having an uninterrupted long work life. We also need to make sure that it will be easy to develop skills that are important for the future labour market. Last but not least, we need to focus on job creation and nurture entrepreneurship in our societies.

    Last out on the stage was Estonian Member of the Parliament, Kalle Palling. He mentioned that politicians often wish to promise new jobs in their election campaigns, although they have no clue about what kind of jobs there will be by the end of their mandate. What would be more important would be to promise to enable opportunities for people to earn an income also when technological innovations lead to changing job markets.

    In the panel discussion that followed, the speakers stressed especially the importance of life-long learning and the need to have a flexible labour market. There needs to be a personal responsibility to stay flexible but at the same time society needs to make it as easy as possible for people to adapt.

    After the panel discussion was wrapped up, five ELF member organisations, whose contributions to the earlier mentioned publication were invaluable, presented their work outside the auditorium. These were NEOS Lab from Austria, Svenska Bildningsförbundet from Finland, Fores from Sweden, Studiecentrum Albert Maertens from Belgium, and Institute for Politics and Society from Czech Republic.

    One assumption that every speaker and participant of the event seemed to agree on, was that we should not be alarmed by the future, but instead work on how to make people adapt to changes as well as possible.

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