The "Agenda for new skills and jobs" is one of the seven flagship initiatives under the Europe 2020 Strategy. It proposes actions within four key priorities in order to reach an employment rate of 75% by 2020. In its opinion the EESC broadly welcomes the European Commission initiative but puts forward a number of comments and recommendations. For instance, the Committee finds that the proposed initiative fails to encapsulate the urgent need to create good-quality jobs. It does not constitute a sufficient stimulus to Member States to set more ambitious national goals backed by the necessary investment and structural reforms.
"The Committee fully supports the Europe 2020 Strategy as well as the progress towards ex ante fiscal policy coordination in the European Semester and hopes that, at least for countries in the euro area, the current legislative proposals for European economic policy coordination will be the first step towards a genuine common economic policy and the full coordination of fiscal policies. ..."
On 23 February the EESC adopted two opinions addressing the issues of education and training and vocational skills development in the EU. Initiatives intended to promote high quality education for all could be meaningless, the EESC warned, if the austerity measures still in place in many EU countries prevented these from making the highly needed investments. As for the Commission's New Skills Agenda, the EESC wishes to see more innovative solutions focusing on social and gender perspectives, non-formal and informal learning and entrepreneurship as a life skill.