To do well in the face of competition from new emerging economies, Europe must create the jobs needed by a dynamic, knowledge-based society. This requires investments in education, science and employment policies geared to keep up with the pace of change and see the EU through the economic crisis.
The EU and national governments share responsibility for policy in the fields of employment, social affairs and inclusion. The EU:
through the following initiatives:
The EU has made a real impact in the field of workers' rights. For example, there are now EU laws limiting working hours, making working conditions safer and ensuring compensation for work injuries.
The EU works with a wide range of partners, including employers and trade unions, to make sure that these laws effectively address the most important issues.
The EU promotes social protection and inclusion by coordinating, promoting and providing funding to support member countries' efforts to combat social exclusion and poverty and reform their social-protection systems.
The EU and its member countries are collaborating to make it easier for people to live and work abroad, by coordinating social security schemes across EU countries and enabling workers to receive their pensions and social security benefits even when they change jobs and work in different EU countries.
The main programmes for employment and social policy are:
National governments are primarily responsible for employment and social policy. EU funding in this field only aims to support and complement their efforts.
Published in March 2013
This publication is part of the 'European Union explained' series