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European Employment Strategy (EES)

The glossary is being updated given the recent signing of the Treaty of Lisbon.

Since the Treaty of Amsterdam added a new Title VIII on Employment to the Treaty establishing the European Community, coordination of Member States' employment policies has become a Community priority.

It was on the basis of these new provisions that the Luxembourg European Council, held in November 1997, launched the European Employment Strategy (EES), also known as the "Luxembourg process".

The EES is an annual programme of planning, monitoring, examination and readjustment of policies put in place by Member States to coordinate the instruments they use to tackle unemployment. The Strategy is based on four components:

  • Employment Guidelines: common priorities for Member States' employment policies, drawn up by the Commission;
  • National Action Plans (NAPs) for employment: implementation of the common Guidelines at national level;
  • Joint Employment Report: summary of the National Action Plans, to be used as a basis for drawing up the following year's Guidelines;
  • Recommendations: the Council adopts country-specific recommendations by a qualified majority.

In 2005 the Lisbon Strategy was revised in order to focus more closely on developing strong, sustainable growth and creating more and better jobs.

This re-launch of the Lisbon Strategy led to a thorough review of the EES, implementing the new process in July 2005, with the European Council's approval of the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs.

The European Employment Strategy is based on four components:

  • the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (the Guidelines will now be presented jointly with the guidelines for the EU's macroeconomic and microeconomic policies for a period of three years);
  • the national reform programmes for each country;
  • the Commission's annual report on growth and employment, which analyses the 25 new national reform programmes presented by the Member States;
  • any recommendations adopted by the Council.

The Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs will serve as a basis for the Community Lisbon Programme and the national action programmes.

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