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Guidelines for employment policies

Council guidelines provide direction for the coordination of national policies of European Union (UE) Member States. Based on the Europe 2020 strategic objectives, the present guidelines aim at supporting reforms for sustainable growth driven by knowledge and innovation.


Council Decision 2010/707/EU of 21 October 2010 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States [Official Journal L of 24.11.2010].


The European Union (EU) Member States take the guidelines for employment policies into account when drafting their policies. They thus set their national targets on the basis of the present recommendations.

The guidelines for employment policies are associated with the broad guidelines for economic policies; together they form integrated guidelines for the Europe 2020 strategy.

Increasing labour market participation

The EU has set itself the target of increasing the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64 to 75 % by 2020. In order to meet this objective, Member States are to promote the labour market participation of young people, older workers, low-skilled workers and legal migrants.

To this end, national policies must in particular promote the principles of flexicurity, worker mobility and work-life balance.

Member States must establish forward-looking measures to integrate young people and vulnerable groups into the labour market. They must also make employment more attractive, particularly for the low-skilled, whilst ensuring that labour costs are consistent with price stability and productivity trends.

Lastly, Member States must promote self-employment and entrepreneurship. They must foster job creation, including in the areas of care and green employment.

Developing a skilled workforce

Developing new skills that correspond to labour market needs should enable productivity and employability of workers to be increased. Member States must extend the capacity of education and training systems and foster their adaptation to societal trends towards a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy.

In this perspective, measures taken must ensure quality of initial education and lifelong training opportunities. Training must be open to low-skilled or highly skilled workers, and be organised in cooperation with social partners and enterprises.

Member States should also encourage labour mobility, namely through systems for recognising acquired competencies.

Improving education and training systems

By 2020, early school leaving is to be reduced to less than 10 % and at least 40 % of 30-34 year-olds are to have completed tertiary or equivalent education.

This target means investing in the quality of education and training systems, by adapting teaching methods to societal trends and making employability a priority. Member States must also promote lifelong learning, including through non-formal methods.

They must also foster the international mobility of teachers and learners, the development of qualification frameworks enabling flexible learning pathways, and partnerships with enterprises.

Combating social exclusion

The Europe 2020 strategy promotes social inclusion and combats poverty, in order that 20 million people will no longer be confronted with the risk of poverty and exclusion in the next 10 years.

Thus, Member States should pay particular attention to the employment of those furthest away from the labour market. Measures taken must empower people, but must also combat in-work poverty.

National policies must provide guarantees of access to affordable, sustainable and high quality services, including in the social sector. Furthermore, they should aim to ensure that social protection and pension systems are modernised and viable.

Lastly, Member States shall support the social economy and social innovation, fostering equal opportunities and combating discrimination.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 2010/707/EU



OJ L 308 of 24.11.2010

Last updated: 17.02.2011
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