Brussels, 23 September 2014
Employment: Commission welcomes new Public Employment Services Network as key milestone for Youth Guarantee implementation
The European Commission welcomes today's official launch of the Public Employment Services Network, a new cooperation structure helping Member States further coordinate their policies and actions against unemployment and reinforcing the European economic governance framework. Upgrading the support provided by Member States' public employment services to young people is particularly important for the practical implementation of the Youth Guarantee, the ambitious EU-wide reform aiming to help all jobless people under 25 to find employment. The new network's Board is meeting today for the first time in Brussels.
This new Network is based on a Council and European Parliament Decision to maximise the efficiency of public employment services through closer cooperation adopted in May 2014 (see IP/13/544 and IP/14/545), in line with the 2012 Employment Package.
László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, said: "Well-functioning and efficient Public Employment Services are essential to facilitate quick access to jobs and training for unemployed people across Europe. The new Network will contribute to their modernisation and reform across the EU. A number of Member States also need to reform their public employment services to successfully implement the Youth Guarantee and to help young unemployed and inactive people get a job or training. The new Network sends yet another strong signal that Europe is using all available tools to fight unemployment.”
The new structure will provide greater opportunities for comparing public employment services performance against relevant benchmarks, for identifying good practices and for improving co-operation, including through mutual learning and peer to peer assistance programmes. One of the more immediate tasks facing the Network is to exchange knowledge and successful practices on the implementation of the Youth Guarantee, as most public employment services are the designated national contact points for this crucial reform. In many Member States, the functioning of public employment services must be improved to ensure individual young people receive appropriate personalised advice on job, education and training opportunities most relevant to their own situation, resulting in a tailor-made, concrete offer within four months.
The Network will also help Member States to better implement the country-specific recommendations addressing the public employment services, as issued by the Council in the framework of the European Semester. In 2014, 11 countries received such a recommendation (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain). National policy makers will use the Network's expertise in the design, development and assessment of employment policies.
The Board of the Public Employment Services Network, made up of senior managers from the Public Employment Services nominated by each Member State and the Commission, governs and steers the Network’s activities.
For its part, the Commission has set up a secretariat to assist and facilitate the work of the new Network and ensure its smooth operation and policy relevance.
The role of public employment services is currently being redefined in most Member States in order to turn them into more agile, modern and customer-oriented providers of services to match job-seekers to vacancies and to training opportunities. This is exactly the right time to strengthen co-operation between public employment services to draw together and maximise the benefits from various strands of co-operation.
Modern and efficient public employment services need to develop greater cooperation with education and training bodies, foster synergies with private and other labour market actors, pay closer attention to employers’ needs and to skills development and increasingly use information and communications technologies in an intelligent way.
An informal European Expert Group of Public Employment Services had previously existed since 1997, providing input to the Commission on employment issues.
The new Network brings national public employment services closer together, with a clear status and defined tasks. This will facilitate the implementation of present and future policy actions and ensures the Network is recognised by all institutions and Member States.
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