Navigation path

Left navigation

Additional tools

Other available languages: none

European Commission


Brussels, 17 January 2013

Employment: Commission proposes to improve EURES job search network – frequently asked questions

See also IP/14/26, MEMO/14/22

Why is there a need for a reform?

EURES has already helped many jobseekers to find work in other Member States and helped many employers to find the staff they need to fill their vacancies. However, the Commission wants to further improve the number of vacancies on offer and the services that EURES provides. To do so, it is necessary to amend the legal rules for clearing and exchanging information between Member States on job opportunities that have not been amended since 1992.

In particular, the Commission is proposing to turn the EURES network into a more proactive instrument that is more and responsive to the labour market, to focus more on young people and to extend the number of partners offering mobility services through EURES.

Throughout 2013, Member States have already started to implement the December 2012 EURES Decision (see IP/12/1262) and, in parallel, there have been improvements made to the EURES portal.

A more comprehensive revision of the overall regulatory framework is needed to reflect new mobility patterns, enhanced requirements for "fair mobility" (mobility which takes place on a voluntary basis and respects labour law and standards), changes in the technology for sharing job vacancy data, the use of a variety of recruitment channels by job seekers and employers and an increasing role of other labour market brokers in addition to public employment services in the provision of recruitment services.

Once the new rules are adopted by the European Parliament and the Council, the December 2012 Commission Decision will be repealed.

What shortcomings does this proposal address?

The proposed new rules address five concrete shortcomings:

  1. Lack of transparency of labour markets: Today, there exists no comprehensive pool of vacancies and CVs accessible to all in the EU. On average only around 30% of the job vacancies at national level are made available on the EURES portal. This ratio differs widely across countries for various reasons. There is no structured electronic exchange of CVs or other job seeker profile information at European level, since job seekers upload their CV on the EURES portal directly, on their own initiative.

  2. Limited matching potential: Currently, the EURES portal only has a limited capacity to match job vacancies and CVs at EU level, due to the limited degree of interoperability of data coming from national job vacancy systems.

  3. Need for mainstreaming: There is uneven access to EURES services across the EU, as job seekers and employers do not systematically receive all the necessary information on EURES nor receive an offer for further assistance at the first stage of recruitment.

  4. Limited support services: Jobseekers and employers who have indicated an interest in trans-national and cross-border labour mobility currently only have access to limited matching, recruitment and placement assistance(such as information and advice on social security).

  5. Limited information exchange and cooperation: The information exchange on labour shortages and surpluses between Member States is inefficient, hampering more targeted practical cooperation in the EURES network. Today no appropriate framework exists for sharing this information among Member States.

What improvements is the Commission proposing?

More job vacancies and CVs available to all across the EU

Under the proposed rules, Member States would be required to make available to the EURES portal all the job vacancies they publish nationally. This would include vacancies currently only available at local or regional level, and vacancies from third parties, such as private employment services and other organisations. Member States could only exclude job vacancies which, due to their nature or to national rules, are only open to citizens of a specific country.

The EURES portal would continue to receive CVs posted directly by jobseekers, but would also receive those made available through organisations such as public employment services and EURES partners (such as private employment agencies), with the explicit consent of jobseekers and full data protection rights (e.g. withdrawal, deletion or modification of the data).

Automated matching at EU level to facilitate job search and recruitment

The proposed rules would allow for an effective matching process at European level between job vacancies and candidates. To allow this feature, the Commission has developed a common classification system of occupations (ESCO) in close collaboration with stakeholders and with the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP).

Making EURES more visible and accessible at national level

Every job seeker and every employer registering with employment services would become aware of what EURES can do and would receive a clear "EURES offer" for further assistance, if s/he is interested. This would guarantee that Member States disseminate basic information on EURES through all their employment services.

Clearly defined mobility support services for job seekers and employers

Under the new rules, the EURES network would offer, free of charge, several minimum support services for EU jobseekers wishing to move and work in other Member States. These services include:

  • information on living and working conditions and on active labour market measures

  • assistance with the drawing up of job applications and CVs to ensure they comply with European standards and formats, as well as with their uploading on relevant national job search databases and the EURES portal, where requested

  • follow-up on possible intra-EU placement as part of the individual action plan where appropriate

  • referral to another EURES partner where appropriate.

To employers, the EURES network would also offer mobility support services and recruitment assistance, which may be subject to a fee. These services include:

  • information on the specific rules applicable when employing those workers

  • promotion of the EURES network and the CV database on the EURES portal as a tool helping to fill job vacancies

  • information and guidance on factors which can facilitate the recruitment of workers and how to support their integration

  • information and guidance on the formulation of individual job requirements in a job vacancy, where requested

  • assistance on the formulation of the job vacancy in conformity with the European technical standards and formats, where requested

  • assistance with the registration as an employer on the EURES portal and

  • referral to an another EURES partner, where appropriate.

Better information exchange and organisation of the work of EURES

The proposed rules aim to increase the exchange of information among Member States, particularly on surpluses and shortages on national labour markets. This intelligence would place EURES in a better position to organise and coordinate placement and recruitment activities. This would help Member States to include mobility policies as an integral part of their social and employment policies.

Member States may adjust their mobility policies in light of economic developments affecting their national labour markets, but this is not done systematically and certainly not in consultation with other Member States. Free movement of workers and high levels of employment are closely linked and make it necessary for Member States to develop mobility policies supporting a better functioning of labour markets in the Union.

The information would be used within the annual cycle for programming and reporting on EURES activities. It would enable the National Coordination Offices, acting on behalf of the Member States, to steer the activity of the EURES network as a result-oriented tool responsive to the needs of workers according to the dynamics of labour markets.

Who would be responsible for implementing the initiative?

In most countries, implementation would be the responsibility of the Public Employment Services, which host EURES. The current EURES network consists of the PES and the European Commission. As the proposal is relevant for the European Economic Area, it new rules would also become applicable in Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

However, the proposal also envisages that Member States would develop measures to open up the EURES network to other organisations beyond public employment services, notably other types of employment services such as private employment agencies. Those organisations would be accepted as EURES partners through national authorisation procedures, in accordance with the criteria defined in the proposal.

How would EURES work in practice under the proposed rules?

  1. The European Commission would act as the European Coordination Office to provide common information, training activities, tools and guidance and develop and maintain the EURES portal

  2. Member States would designate National Coordination Offices at national level to provide general support and assistance to all organisations on their territory operating for EURES and with their counterparts in the other Member States and the European Coordination Office.

  3. Organisations could participate as EURES partners if they publish job vacancies, collect CVs, provide matching, placement and recruitment assistance to job seekers and employers and give advice and support on intra-EU labour mobility within the EURES network, or a combination of any of the above.

The network would open up to other organisations in addition to the current ones, such as include private employment services (temporary work agencies), other non-public employment services, trade unions, industrial and employers' associations.

Member States would be responsible for setting up systems to authorise and monitor the activity of all organisations on their territory operating for EURES as EURES partners.

To operate as EURES Partners, organisations should adhere to minimum common criteria and a limited set of basic rules on the process of authorisation, to ensure transparency and equal opportunities when joining the EURES network, without prejudice to the flexibility necessary to take into account the different national models and forms of co-operation between PES and other labour market actors in the Member States.

How will the EURES portal be improved?

In parallel to the proposed reform of EURES, the EURES web portal will be upgraded. A new version of the portal will be released in 2014. It will bring new and improved features, such as a revamped online CV application to publish and search for CVs, and improved job search functions. Sectoral "skills passports" will be introduced giving jobseekers and employers active in specific sectors the opportunity to present or search for skills in a more detailed way adapted to that sector. A first skills passport for the hospitality sector will be launched in the spring of 2014.

Additional features will be added to the EURES portal gradually over the coming years. These improvements will focus on the following:

  1. Better matching between labour supply and demand: EURES online recruitment tools will provide for automatic matching, based on semantic and other advanced technologies, between CVs and vacancies that have been published on the portal. The tools will also be open to apprenticeships and traineeships. In the long run EURES will turn into a matching platform that could be used by actors such as Public Employment Services, private employment services, employers and training institutions, in order to build new services by using the EURES Application Programming Interface.

  2. Mobility: more comprehensive information on living and working conditions in different countries will be provided through closer collaboration with other websites and information sources. Jobseekers will be able to share information and tips with each other.

  3. Learning: the portal will provide more information and guidance helping jobseekers to determine which new skills they may need and how to obtain them.

  4. Internal network cooperation: the EURES portal will provide the members of the EURES network with the necessary tools to help them carry out their tasks in a more efficient and collaborative way, including tools for organising virtual events and web meetings.

Finally, a new European Online Job Day website will be set up to promote all European Job Days (EJD) organised in different countries. European Job Days are events aimed at encouraging mobility throughout Europe. This will help any EJD organisers to build their own event both online and offline. There will be registration features, event information, live streaming, live chat with exhibitors, a “jobs on offer” section as well as practical information for the participant. There is also an interview-scheduling feature that allows employers to book interviews with potential candidates that have been preselected in advance.

For more information

News item on DG Employment website

László Andor's website

Follow László Andor on Twitter

Subscribe to the European Commission's free e-mail newsletter on employment, social affairs and inclusion

Side Bar