Unemployment – and in particular youth unemployment – is a serious problem in most EU Member States, though significant differences exist between countries. Strengthening socio-economic convergence is an important task of the European Union, and here employment policies play a vital role. Member States carry the main responsibility in this area but the Treaty states that promoting employment is a "matter of common concern" and that Member States "shall coordinate their action in this respect".

The European Employment Strategy (EES), originally adopted by the Heads of State and Government in 1997, provides a framework for Member States to share information and best practices and coordinate their labour market and employment policies.

The EES is now closely linked to the Europe 2020 strategy, the EU's strategy for growth and jobs, and the European semester, the aim of which is to enhance the coordination of economic, employment and budgetary policies – notably by means of country-specific recommendations.


The national economic and social councils and the EESC have different roles to play in relation to promoting employment. Whilst the national bodies contribute to the national input to the European semester, the EESC supports the European process in various other ways, including by adopting opinions on the employment guidelines and the Annual Growth Survey.

ESC & EESC Works

Opinions of national ESCs in the Document Database "CESlink":  View opinions about employment



The principle of the freedom of profession. Abolition of unjustified restrictions in accessing and practicing professional employment (draft law), March 2011

Guarantees against labour insecurities and other provisions (draft law), March 2010

The policies for strengthening employment and fighting unemployment at the period of economic crisis (initiative opinion), June 2009

Active employment policies and income support to the unemployed (initiative opinion), November 2008

Green Paper “Modernising labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century” (government proposal), March 2007

See previous OKE opinions on "employment" in the OKE website and in the CESlink Documents database