High-Level Roundtable on Employment and Skills


For the fourth consecutive year, the European Centre for Government Transformation convened a High-Level Roundtable on Employment and Skills. This year’s theme was Productivity in Labour Markets: A Key Driver for Growth and Competitiveness in Europe. Xavier Prats Monné, deputy director-general for education and culture at the European Commission, gave a though-provoking and forward-looking keynote. In participatory working sessions, top civil servants compared and shared best practices in employment and skills policies in, inter alia, Belgium, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore and Spain. Sandrine Cazes, senior economist in the directorate for employment, labour and social affairs at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), set the scene and gave an overview of Europe’s common challenges in employment and skills. Yngvar Åsholt, director for research and analysis at the Labour and Welfare Service, in Norway; Jean-Marie Marx, director-general of APEC, in France; John McKeon, assistant secretary-general at the Department for Social Protection, in Ireland; Fred Paling, member of the executive board of UWV in the Netherlands; Salvatore Pirrone, general director for active and passive policies at the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, in Italy; Luca Sabatini, general director for unemployment and income support benefits at the National Institute for Social Security, in Italy; and María de los Reyes Zataraín del Valle, general director of the Spanish Public Employment Service (SEPE); presented the challenges their agencies face to improve productivity in the labour markets – and how they are transforming their services to reach that goal. Dilip Chenoy, managing director and CEO of the National Skill Development Corporation in India; and Winston Toh, deputy CEO of the Workforce Development Agency in Singapore, discussed their countries’ employment and skills challenges and presented the innovative solutions that they deployed to address them. Georg Fischer, director for analysis, evaluation and external relations at the European Commission’s directorate-general for employment, social affairs and inclusion; and Detlef Eckert, director for Europe 2020: employment policies at the European Commission’s directorate-general for employment, social affairs and inclusion, added the European Union perspective to this most interesting debate and explained where the Union can help.

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