Brussels, 20 december 2001
Employment : New high-level report says EU labour markets must be more fluid.
A high-level, independent task force on skills and mobility says in its new report to the Commission that there are still too many obstacles to real labour mobility in the EU. The report, which diagnoses the main problem areas and presents a series of recommendations, calls for more and better basic language training, ICT skills, simpler systems for transferring pensions and social security rights and an overhaul of systems to regulate professions and recognise skills and experience acquired in another member state. Simple lack of information about job options abroad can also be a problem. This independent report, commissioned by Anna Diamantopoulou, will now give the Commission a firm basis to push ahead with its Action Plan for EU-wide labour markets by 2005. The Action Plan is scheduled to be presented to the Barcelona summit of Spring 2002 as part of the Commission's new EU objective of 'managing change'.
Welcoming the report of the task force, Anna Diamantopoulou, European Commissioner for employment and social affairs said: "At present, EU citizens find it too hard, too often when they try to move between jobs and between countries. The skills gap is a major culprit in this, but there is a potent cocktail of factors at play. No wonder some people think the EU is just a figment of someone's imagination and little use to them when it matters for their job. The Commission's aim is to push for open and accessible EU-wide labour markets by 2005."
The 'High-Level Task Force on Skills and Mobility', set up under the Commission's initiative to open up EU labour markets by 2005 and endorsed by the Stockholm European Council in March 2001, has presented the following key recommendations :
The Task Force was brought together in June 2001 by Anna Diamantopoulou, Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, as an important part of its strategy to remove barriers to mobility and to raise the skill levels of the European workforce at all levels. The Task Force based its work on three main principles: First, the freedom of movement within the European Single Market is a fundamental objective of the European Union, and barriers to it must be eliminated. Second, the development of a knowledge based society is a central determinant of competitiveness and growth in a global economy, and therefore policies to foster skills endowment in Europe must be strengthened. Third, achieving both freedom of movement and the construction of a knowledge based society are key conditions for attaining the objective of full employment in Europe, set at the Lisbon European Council in the spring of 2000. On the basis of the report of the Task Force the Commission intends to present to the Barcelona European Council of March 2002, an Action Plan with further initiatives so as to allow everyone access to genuine European labour markets by 2005. This Action Plan will be also an important input in the revision of the European Employment Strategy, foreseen in 2002.
Members of The High Level Task Force were the following:
Dr Ulrich Schumacher
President and CEO of Infineon (SIEMENS group) (DE)
Prof. Tito Boeri
Bocconi University (IT)
Mr Juan Chozas
Secretary General for Employment (ES)
Mr Giles Clarke
EU 500 entrepreneur, Majestic Wine, Pet City, Chairman Fosters Rooms Ltd. (UK)
Mrs Mona Hemmer
Former Vice President of EUROCADRES, (FIN)
Ms Lore Hostasch
Former Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs (AU)
Mr Jan E Kvarnström
Chairman, Castellum AB, former CEO Esselte and Securum (SV)
Mr John Monks
General Secretary of Trades Union Congress (UK)
Dr Jo Ritzen
Vice-President of the World Bank (NL)
Mrs Rose-Marie Van Lerberghe
Director General Altedia Group (FR)
For more information (website addresses will be operational as soon as possible):