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[Excerpt] This year’s report is no exception in this respect. It investigates the link between employment specialisation and productivity. It assesses the real job creation needs that flow from the targets agreed at the Lisbon, Stockholm and Barcelona European Councils. It identifies the skills gaps that are emerging, not just from changing patterns of demand, but from the changing demographic composition of the workforce.

It reflects on the future nature of wage bargaining in an increasingly integrated and expanding Union. It considers success and failure in promoting more flexible work organisation and labour mobility. And looks into the consequences of adopting more up-to-date notions of job quality.

Last but not least, it considers the consequences of the ageing of the European workforce, and the extend to which immigration of foreign nationals can be seen as part of the policy response, or as a separate policy issue which needs to be addressed in its own terms.

This issue of Employment in Europe also provides, wherever possible, data and information about the future EU Members. The basic characteristic of the labour market of the acceding countries is the lack of labour demand. In particular we should note the increase in the employment rate for women in contrast to the reduction of employment for men due to structural changes in the industrial sector.