Speech/statement | Date: 17/11/2017 | Office of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s speech at the EU Social Summit in Gothenburg, 17 November 2017.
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During the last years, we have recognized that we need to increase the pace to adjust to the broader transition in Europe towards a greener economy with labour markets characterised by increased digitalisation and automation.
We all face broadly the same challenges:
We need to develop new high-productivity sectors.
We need to create more knowledge-based industries.
And we need more people to start their own businesses and develop their own ideas.
To meet these transitions we need a broad policy response.
My government have used the state budget actively and increased the public spending on research, education and infrastructure, focusing on both volume and quality.
Our main message is that our ability to overcome the challenges and take advantage of the future possibilities will depend on how successful we are in three main areas:
First, an inclusive labour market with high participation rates is crucial, also seen in the context of demographic change.
We see that our tax and welfare benefit system must strengthen the incentives to work.
Continuous education and lifelong skills development are other key factors to successfully address the labour market participation rate.
Add to that, we need to equip our labour force with the appropriate skills to face the knowledge economy with increased digitalisation.
Second, we should also strive to make the economic growth inclusive and keep income inequality low.
We must pay attention to the people who are struggling to keep up in the knowledge economy.
To address these challenges, we have developed a comprehensive Strategy for Skills Policy in cooperation with the social partners.
Third, improved productivity in the public and private sector is essential.
To deal with the challenges of an economy in transition, we must continuously ask how things can be done better.
We also need a level playing field that makes it possible for firms following laws and regulations to compete and thrive.
That is part of our work on measures to fight work-related crime.
This is an area where we need closer cooperation at the European level.
Recently, I have sent a letter to Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, suggesting elements to a common European approach to combat these challenges.
Thank you for your attention.