- considers that the proposed guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States are appropriate as they address the most urgent issues in the labour market;
- draws attention to the current increasingly uncertain geopolitical situation. Its impact on future demand is expected to affect companies' investment decisions and job security and delay the roll-out of investment plans by both the private and public sectors. It is even more necessary to ensure that there is a competitive base for sustainable investments. Member States should work towards a truly integrated single market and help SMEs to scale up;
- stresses that steps must be taken to strengthen both the role of the social partners and their involvement in designing and implementing employment, social and economic reforms and policies, including by building their capacity;
- points out that as labour shortages are on the rise again, effective measures should be implemented in order to encourage the social partners to work on skills needs at national level, with action adapted to individual sectors and local situations;
- believes that combined action by different policy instruments and measures negotiated by the social partners are needed to reduce in-work poverty;
- points out that targeted support is especially important for the long-term unemployed and/or inactive people, as it increases their chance of breaking (back) into the labour market and is an important factor in job retention. As the pandemic has hit young people particularly hard, youth-specific, inclusive, and forward-looking policy measures are crucial to ensure that young people are not left behind;
- stresses that in order to lower the inactivity rate, efforts must be made to bring those further from the labour market back into it;
- notes that measures to close the gender pay gap remain important, and the root causes of this issue should be addressed. The proposal for a Pay Transparency Directive, currently under discussion, should strengthen the application of the principle of equal pay between men and women for work of the same value, as one of the measures to address the gender pay gap while remaining sensitive to concerns about additional burdens on companies and especially SMEs.