Statement by the President of the Employers' Group Following the vote on the EESC opinion on unemployment insurance

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On 11 December 2019, the European Economic and Social Committee voted on the opinion "Common minimum standards in the field of unemployment insurance in EU Member States" (SOC/583). The opinion was adopted by 141 votes in favour, 65 votes against and 14 abstentions. The majority of members of the Employers' Group voted against the opinion.

Currently, issues related to unemployment remain a competence of the Member States. Any policies and action concerning EU-wide minimum standards in the field of unemployment insurance must be based on a gradual approach.

A binding legal framework should only be considered if after close monitoring and evaluation there is sufficient convergence in terms of economic and social policies in the Member States. The first step towards more convergence should be monitoring via the European Semester, the second step should be to follow Council recommendations guiding countries towards necessary reforms. Only if these tools do not deliver the expected outcome, could we consider a solution at the European level, such as a binding legal framework. This choice should be left to the Commission and Member States.

Moreover, any measures regarding unemployment insurance should be accompanied by active labour market policies that help fight unemployment. The employers believe that Member States have the tools to implement measures that are better tailored to national specifics (taking into account the variety and the significant differences between unemployment insurance systems across the EU countries).

Member States should work closer together within the European Semester and exchange best practices in the field of fighting unemployment and poverty. The overarching goal should be to improve the functioning of the labour markets across the EU.