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Employment policy guidelines 2000
Adoption of employment guidelines for 2000, containing a series of adaptations to the employment guidelines 1999, with regard to the National Action Plans and the joint employment report 1999. The Commission's proposals are aimed at consistency and at following up the integrated approach launched in Luxembourg in 1997.
2) COMMUNITY MEASURE
Commission Communication of 8 September 1999: Proposals for Guidelines for Member States' Employment Policies 2000.
The guidelines 2000 are part of a package of documents adopted by the Commission in the field of employment on 8 September 1999. Besides the employment guidelines 2000, this package includes the joint employment report 1999, a Council Decision establishing the Employment Committee and, finally, the Commission's recommendations for the Council recommendations concerning the implementation of the employment policies in the Member States.
According to the Commission, the European Union is making headway in creating jobs and combating unemployment. The number of persons in employment in the EU rose by 1.8 million in 1998, i.e. by 1.2% (this rise was twice as high as in 1997 and the highest since 1990). Unemployment in the EU fell to 9.4% in May 1999, as compared with 10.1% in May 1998.
This improvement should however be seen against the background of the Union's unsatisfactory employment rate of 61%, which is low by comparison with the United States and Japan (where the employment rate is approximately 74%).
Experience over the past two years has shown that the four-pillar structure (employability, entrepreneurship, adaptability and equal opportunities) provides a good basis for an integrated medium-term approach. Besides, this approach has been welcomed at international level, particularly in the context of the G8.
Hence the Commission believes that changes to the guidelines for 2000 should be kept to a minimum, in order to allow the upcoming debates at Community level to focus more particularly on the recommendations to Member States.
The Commission is not proposing any new guidelines for 2000. However, discussions with the Member States and social partners during the year have revealed a need for a limited number of adjustments and further clarification in relation to certain existing guidelines.
The Commission proposes, inter alia, the following adaptations:
- a greater focus on the preventive approach set out in guidelines 1 and 2, which require early intervention at the level of the individual in order to allow his effective and rapid integration into the labour market; at present, however, the preventive measures adopted by certain Member States are unsatisfactory;
- clarification of the meaning of the transition from passive to active measures in guidelines 3 and 4 (i.e. incentives to seeking and taking up work, employability measures and job creation, as well as active ageing policies);
- an adaptation to guideline 6 on lifelong learning to take account of the work of the Employment and Labour Market Committee in developing an appropriate definition;
- a specific recommendation on developing computer literacy, equipping schools with computer equipment and facilitating student access to the Internet by 2002, so as to ease the transition from school to work envisaged by guidelines 8 and 9.
The Commission proposes:
- exploiting new opportunities for job creation, particularly in industry-related services, including the environmental sector;
- strengthening the local and regional dimension of employment, taking account of the role of the Public Employment Services.
In the light of the debates following adoption of the Commission's communication on modernising work organisation in 1998 and the willingness of the social partners to engage in a joint process in this field, the Commission proposes to adjust the content of guideline 16. Notably it presents a series of issues to be addressed, such as training and re-training, the introduction of new technologies, new forms of work and working time issues, etc.
This pillar was substantially strengthened in 1999 and hence only one clarification is foreseen for 2000. The Commission clarifies the objective of guideline 22, recommending that reintegration into the labour market after an absence be facilitated.
Consolidating the process
Good progress was made in 1999 by the Commission and the Member States by defining a first set of commonly-agreed indicators to measure progress being made towards EU-level targets on prevention and activation.
However, the existing indicators should be refined in the light of the experience gained in 1999 and the set of common indicators must be expanded so as to cover other areas, such as education and training, entrepreneurship and taxation, adaptability and equal opportunities.
Besides, several Member States must intensify their efforts to set up a monitoring system capable of providing the detailed data of sufficient quality and comparability which is required for a full evaluation of Community employment policy implementation and outcome.
During the year 2000 it is planned to further streamline the reports on employment. Hence, only one implementation report will be presented, encompassing a description of the implementation of the National Action Plans and their updating to take account of the employment guidelines for 2000, and focusing more specifically on:
- commonly-agreed indicators to measure the progress being made towards EU-level and national targets;
- evaluation of initiatives in order to identify good practices;
- reporting on new initiatives or interesting measures.
The annex presents the amended employment guidelines for 2000.
4) DEADLINE FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF THE LEGISLATION IN THE MEMBER STATES
5) DATE OF ENTRY INTO FORCE (if different from the above)
Commission Communication COM(1999) 441 final
Not published in the Official Journal
7) FOLLOW-UP WORK
On 13 January 2000 the Council Decision on the guidelines for Member States' Employment Policies 2000 was adopted [Official Journal L 72, 21.03.2000].