European Commitment for Employment
The international financial crisis has an impact on the employment situation in Europe. Action undertaken to boost economic recovery should therefore coincide with the needs of the labour market and the budgetary situation of Member States.
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 3 June 2009 – A Shared Commitment for Employment [COM(2009) 257 final - Not published in the Official Journal].
The Commission proposes that Member States and European social partners make a Shared European Commitment for Employment in order to strengthen their cooperation as part of the European Economic Recovery Plan.
Their priorities for action should be based on the measures adopted during the European Employment Summit on 7 May 2009.
Measures to promote employment
Firstly, action should allow existing jobs to be maintained, adopting, if required, temporary short time working arrangements. Business restructuring should be better anticipated and its consequences limited, by means of the instruments introduced by the Commission. Local authorities and social partners should develop partnerships and sharing agreements to manage restructuring in sensitive sectors. Lastly, if redundancies cannot be avoided, redeployment, training and job search services should be offered to workers.
Employment should be fostered by improving the business environment and by encouraging business start-up, particularly of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Member States should introduce specific aid by making start-up capital available to unemployed and young people.
Workers’ mobility is essential for employment. European citizens looking for jobs in another Member State should therefore be able to receive unemployment benefit beyond the six month period. The Commission is developing online services dedicated to mobility, such as the EURES portal and the ‘Match and Map’ service which includes job search, education and training.
Upgrading workers’ skills
The Commission has proposed an agenda to promote the acquisition of new skills, in order to meet the new needs of the market. The EU must evolve towards a low-carbon economy and in this context assessments should be made for each sector of activity, taking into account the sectors most affected by the crisis.
The development of the European Qualifications Framework should allow learning outcomes to be valorised, beyond the criteria that are generally envisaged (type of establishment, duration of training). Access to lifelong learning should be sufficiently flexible to achieve fast results for a maximum number of workers.
Specific action should be taken to foster the employability of young people. Action should mainly focus on the quality of teaching, combating school drop-out and access to training for the young unemployed.
Facilitating access to employment
Member States should adopt activation measures aimed in particular at helping the long-term unemployed, older workers and low skilled labour back to work. The Commission recommends associating recruitment incentives with training aid.
Mobilising Community financial instruments
The use of the European Social Fund (ESF) is essential in order to accelerate the funding of recovery. Access to it should be simplified and new measures should allow the objectives of the Shared Commitment for Employment to be achieved quickly. The period 2009-2010 will have a budget of EUR 19 billion, in line with the financial perspectives for 2007-2013.
In addition, Member States should take fuller advantage of EIB loans, as well as funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) whose scope has been widened.
Rapid recovery measures and investments in cohesion policy should be facilitated by the amendment of the rules for managing structural funds. Thus in 2009 and 2010, spending that has been committed should have 100% reimbursement rates since Member States are exempt from co-funding.
Finally, the Commission plans to create a European microfinance facility for employment under the PROGRESS programme.
Monitoring the progress achieved is to be carried out as part of the Tripartite Social Summits prior to the Spring European Council.
The Commission and Member States are to report on the results of their Commitment for Employment during the Spring European Council of 2010.