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Economy and Finance

Advisory report 2010/01 : Market regulation policy
In November 2008, the Lower Chamber asked the SER to publish an advisory report on deregulation and liberalisation and safeguarding public interests. In particular, the Lower Chamber asked the SER to make recommendations on future deregulation or liberalisation in light of the lessons to be drawn from earlier operations. In the Council’s opinion, the discussion about regulation and competition should enter a new phase. The focus should be on a thorough consideration of the effects of various policy alternatives for public interests and for social prosperity. As a contribution to this, the Council has developed an impact assessment that could help in finding the right questions to ask. Asking the right questions at the right time, in addition to a systematic comparison of alternatives, could play an important role.

Economy and Finance, International Policies, Single Market

The Euro: An Irish Perspective (121)
In this report the Council’s analysis shows that:Membership of the euro has been beneficial to Ireland, and if Ireland had not joined it is likely to have fared worse in the crisis of the past two years;In the past decade, Ireland’s approach to fiscal policy, prices, costs and financial regulation were not sufficiently adapted to the disciplines of a single currency; and Despite important steps in the past year, the euro faces severe challenges: the effectiveness of the financial support provided to Greece, the recovery of the whole European economy in the context of fiscal austerity and the continuing risks to the financial system at global and European level.The full report can be viewed on

Economy and Finance, Single Market

Re-finding Success in Europe: The Challenge for Irish Institutions and Policy (122)
Earlier this year, the Council published The Euro: an Irish Perspective. Together these reports constitute a NESC review of Ireland’s experience and changing engagement in the EU. At a time of anxiety brought about by the Eurozone crisis, it is useful to take a medium-term perspective on Ireland’s engagement with the EU across a wide range of policy areas.To view the Core Arguments, the Executive Summary or Background papers in relation to this report please visit

Economy and Finance, Europe 2020

Sustainable growth – towards well-being and better quality of life. Interim report by the Growth Initiative working group
The working group to strengthen long-term economic growth is engaged in identifying measures to boost productivitygrowth in Finland. In the long term, growth in productivity will be the primary, and perhaps the only, driver of the nation's income growth.The background section of this interim report considers the meaning of GDP and labour productivity, sources of their growth and the importance of such growth. The analysis section is divided into six policy baskets: efficient and wellfunctioning markets, generation and utilisation of information, human and social capital and the labour market, productivity and efficiency in the public sector, business and private investments, and public investments.Finland’s success will depend on a high level of skills and innovative solutions in all sectors of society. The information society is an important instrument in creating opportunities to boost productivity and increase production, while taking account of ecological restrictions. Research and innovation policies and the education system must support the information society's development and place a greater focus on quality and internationality. In addition, the ability of Finns to capitalise on the opportunities offered by the more stringent international environmental policy must beenhanced. A modern broadband infrastructure is an imperative.In addition to the broad-based use of information and communication technologies (ICT), the ability to changepractices plays a key role in promoting public sector productivity. In the private sector, effective markets andcompetition form another important aspect, given that human and economic resources are most effectively targetedon market terms.The information society does not mean technology only. Unless our working methods are changed, the benefits ofnew technology may largely remain out of reach. In addition to information society skills, the adoption of newpractices can be supported by investments in citizens’ mental and physical well-being and in the prevention of social exclusion. Society's support network must provide support for individuals rather than organisations, within the context of change.The modernisation of the public sector's own working methods means, for example, directing the development ofelectronic services and systems on a centralised basis; more centralised and professional management of publicprocurement; and the reform of the structure of services and the administrative system. Innovative use of ICT willhelp achieve these targets.


Local public sector in transition: A Nordic perspective
This book is intended to serve as a resource for those who want to understand the recent reforms of local government organisation, tasks and funding in Finland, Denmark, Norway and Sweden. A special focus of the book is on Finnish local government and how the present Finnish situation compares with developments in other countries. However, this book also offers a more general view of localgovernment reforms and in the way that fiscal federalism has been affected by the global fiscal crisis.

Economy and Finance, Europe 2020

Finland 2020 – From Thought to Action. Final report by the Growth Initiative working group
The Growth Initiative working group, a working group seeking to strengthen long-term economicgrowth, proposes measures to boost productivity growth in Finland in the 2010s. In the long term,beyond the current economic cycle, growth in productivity will be the only driver of the nation'saverage income growth or GDP per capita. In the short term, improving the employment rate is alsoimportant.The Growth Initiative working group's final report begins by providing a brief introduction to issuesvital to productivity growth. It then presents the working group's policy recommendations, dividedunder the following ten headings: 1) Science and innovation policy, 2) Education policy, 3) Life phasepolicy, 4) Competition policy, 5) Enterprise policy, 6) Public sector operating policy, 7) Public sectorinformation system policy, 8) Public sector procurement policy and the general availability of publiclycollected information, 9) Broadband network and intelligent transport policy and 10) Transportinfrastructure policy.

Transport and Communication

Communication No. 9Commuter benefits – Personal transportation costs

Others, Social Policies

Advisory report 2009/07 : Participation of young people with developmental or behavioural disorders
The SER has unanimously adopted an advisory report on the participation of young people with developmental or behavioural disorders. In the report entitled ‘The benefits of a bespoke approach’, the SER stresses that to be able to participate in society, these young people require help that is tailored to their needs. The entire body of rules and facilities for these young people is too complex, so what is needed is a single coordinating professional who can guide a young person on his or her ‘trek through the institutions’. In the longer term, the Government must review ways of structurally improving the cohesion of the entire regime of rules and facilities.

Labour, Others

Advisory report 2009/06 : Report on inhalant allergens in the workplace
On 24 November 2008, the Dutch Minister of Social Affairs and Employment asked the Social and Economic Council’s Working Conditions Committee to advise the Government on how best to deal with inhalant allergens in the workplace. In his request, the Minister referred to two options for exercising the employer’s duty of care with respect to inhalant allergens, in other words to prevent the detrimental effects of exposure. The first option involves developing guidelines for employers. The second involves identifying an ‘accepted risk level’ and making improvements based on that level in order to prevent or reduce exposure. The Minister asked the Committee to evaluate both options and also submitted a number of specific questions concerning the chosen option. The request for advice is explicitly limited to inhalant allergens, in other words substances that cause an allergic reaction in the lungs, such as asthma. Exposure via the skin is therefore not considered, as better protection is both available and feasible in such situations.

Others, Single Market

Advisory report 2009/05 : Consumer rights in the internal market
The European Commission s proposed consumer rights directive will help simplify European rules and improve the functioning of the internal market. The Social and Economic Council's Committee for Consumer Affairs (CCA) agrees with much of the proposal, although it would like to see clarification of various points. Some aspects of the proposal fall short with respect to consumer protection, however, particularly when viewed from the vantage point of Dutch consumer legislation. These are the observations of the CCA in this advisory report.