Norwegian input on social and labour market issues

Dagfinn Høybråten, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, met with EU representatives and social partners during his visit to Brussels this week. Norwegian pension-reforms, the Service Directive, and alcohol-abuse as a social affairs and public health problem dominated his agenda.

15/02/2006 :: “Alcohol-abuse is a major health problem. We want to raise attention to alcohol-related problems and establish a dialogue on the issue,” said the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Dagfinn Høybråten, after meetings in the European Parliament 1 March.

Høybråten informed that he had presented the Nordic strategy on preventing alcohol-abuse to Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. The Commission is currently preparing an EU strategy on alcohol-abuse, expected to be launched by the end of this year.

Having achieved successful results through its own anti-tobacco efforts, Norway has cooperated with the EU on its new anti-smoking campaign, where EU also has been inspired by Norway’s ‘truth-based’ strategy when informing the public of the health risks identified with smoking.

Høybråten regards the new Commission anti-smoking campaign initiated 1 March as a symbol of its serious commitment to health issues.

In the course of the Minister’s discussions with Špidla, they both agreed that Europe’s increasingly aging demographics is a common challenge and that further development is needed to ensure sustainability for new pension arrangements.

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Dagfinn Høybråten, Norwegian Minister of Labour and Social AffairsPhoto: C.F. Wesenberg