The EESC welcomes the proposal for a Council Decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States. The guidelines are a useful benchmark for steering the employment policies towards supporting the gradual hoped-for exit from the crisis situation caused by the pandemic and for directing the various forms of economic support towards a favourable outcome in terms of employment.
The employment guidelines must take into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the labour market, the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan and the outcome of the Porto Social Summit, which set ambitious social targets for employment, combating poverty and access to skills.
European policies need to be coordinated with the objectives of the employment guidelines, strengthening the labour market, supporting firms' productivity and competitiveness, as well as the social market economy of the European Union and strengthening structural measures for the transition from temporary job protection measures to quality job creation.
With regard to Guideline 5, "Boosting the demand for labour", the EESC considers it necessary that the process of recovery in demand be accompanied by measures aimed at increasing demand itself, promoting access to the labour market, the economic and social sustainability of businesses, the professionalisation of workers and the upgrading of working conditions.
With regard to Guideline 6, which aims to increase labour supply and improve access to employment, skills and competences, the EESC notes that it is crucial that each Member State is able to plan effective coordination between the investment measures for training and the labour market provided for by the national recovery and resilience plans (NRRPs) and the Structural Funds.
As regards Guideline 7, "Enhancing the functioning of labour markets and the effectiveness of social dialogue", the EESC advocates establishing a European digital platform for matching of labour supply and demand.
In tandem with strengthening employment policies aimed at employed work, the EESC considers it important to boost the capacity of Member States to promote self-employment and professional work, especially among young people.
Guideline 8 aims at "promoting equal opportunities for all, fostering social inclusion and fighting poverty". The EESC agrees with this approach, as it is essential to frame an employment policy strategy that ensures equal opportunities in the labour market and in employment relationships. The relationship between welfare, the labour market, the functioning of the economy and the fight against inequality and poverty constitutes a fundamental orientation and guideline for employment policies capable of establishing a connection between economic growth and social development.