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EESC President Henri Malosse

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EESC opinion: Employment policy guidelines

27 May 2010
Adopted References: CESE 763/2010 - SOC/380 Referral - COM(2010) 193 final General Rapporteur: Greif (Workers - GR II / Austria) Plenary Session: 463 - 26 May 2010 - 27 May 2010 (Summary Plenary Session) OJ C 21, 21.1.2011, p. 66–71

Proposal for a Council Decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States – Part II of the Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines

Key points

The EESC

  • regrets the fact that the Council and Commission have set such a tight deadline for adopting the guidelines that it will be virtually impossible to have a proper debate with organised civil society and national parliaments;
  • considers that the guidelines do not adequately demonstrate that combating unemployment should be a key policy of the EU and the Member States against the background of the economic crisis;
  • welcomes the focus on fewer guidelines, but thinks that these are too general and too unambitious to be an effective impetus to action, which undermines European efforts;
  • believes that the policy recommendations for the job market (improving employability) place far too much emphasis on supply, and calls for more consideration to be given to an intelligent demand policy that promotes future growth and innovation and helps to create more jobs;
  • is concerned that the goal of full employment (a key point in the old guidelines) is no longer in evidence;
  • is surprised that the guidelines contain no specific statements about quality of work and proposes that Guidelines 8 and 9 should be combined, and a separate guideline introduced on promoting the job quality;
  • welcomes the emphasis in the new guidelines on the knowledge triangle and up-skilling, but would have liked to see more ambitious provisions for combating youth unemployment and promoting education and training for disabled people;
  • laments the insufficient reference generally to gender equality policy (e.g. promotion of women);
  • emphatically welcomes the goal of "promoting social inclusion and combating poverty" as a separate guideline, although reducing the risk of poverty for children and young people should be emphasised more;
  • believes that reducing the risk of poverty requires a series of stable and reliable indicators to measure and monitor progress, which would also determine for example the ratio of income to purchasing power as well as concentration of income (Gini coefficient) and that the "at risk of poverty rate" should be therefore confirmed undisputedly as the standard measure of relative poverty;
  • would have recommended clearer statements on the integration of groups that are disproportionately at risk of poverty (e.g. single mothers, people from a migrant background, elderly people with low pension entitlements, the disabled).