The European Employment Strategy More and better jobs for all

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1 The European Employment Strategy More and better jobs for all European Commission

2 What is the EES? The European Employment Strategy (EES) was created with the aim to orientate and ensure co-ordination of the employment policy priorities to which Member States subscribe at EU level. In 1997, Member States committed themselves to establishing a set of common objectives and targets for employment policy and to monitoring it through an annual procedure laid down in the new Amsterdam Treaty. Member States still have the main competence for employment policy, but the Treaty gives the Council and the Commission a much stronger role and new tasks and the European Parliament is also more closely integrated into the decision-making process. The responsibilities of the social partners are also enhanced by the inclusion of the Social Protocol in the Treaty. The EES is an integrated part of a larger set of instruments created by the EU institutions to support EU employment policies, and an important tool to reach the Lisbon strategy objective of creating "more and better jobs". It is also an element of the EU social dialogue. The EES also uses the European Social Fund to support the Members States in the implementation of the agreed employment policies. 2

3 EES governance The EES uses an 'open method of co-ordination', based on the key principles of subsidiarity (balance between European Union level and the Member States), convergence (concerted action), mutual learning 1 (exchanging of good practice), integrated approach (structural reforms also extend to social, educational, tax, enterprise and regional policies 2 ) and management by objectives. Concerning this last principle, the strategy uses quantified measurements, targets and benchmarks, to allow for a proper monitoring and evaluation of progress. In this context, indicators are used to assess the performance and efforts by Member States in the field of employment policies and of support of the analysis of the National Reform Programmes. They are also used in the EU annual progress report, which will integrate the draft Joint Employment Report. The indicators are agreed in the Employment Committee (EMCO) on an annual basis. The Employment Committee's working group on Indicators assists EMCO on the selection and development of indicators required to monitor the Employment Guidelines. The Commission and the Member States work together in this Indicators group. Work is continuously carried out within the group to improve the comparability, reliability and timeliness of databases. DG Employment co-operates to a large extent with Eurostat 3 in this field. 1. See the mutual learning programme site at 2. See Article of the Treaty of the European Union 3. Eurostat is the Statistical Office of the European Communities, see site at: 3

4 The origins and beginnings of the EES Before the Treaty of Amsterdam, the responsibility for employment policy was under the exclusive responsibility of the Member States, the role of the Commission being limited to promoting co-operation at EU level. Inspired by the Delors' White Book on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment 4 in 1993, the European Council in Essen in December 1994 agreed on key objectives, but the work was based on conclusions with no legal binding. In November 1997 new provisions were introduced in the Employment title of the Treaty and the European Employment Strategy was launched at the Luxembourg Jobs Summit. In March 2000, in the Lisbon European Council, the European Union set itself a new strategic goal for the next decade: to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs and greater social cohesion. The EES was designed to enable the Union to achieve the conditions for full employment (employment rate of 70% overall and 60% for women) and to strengthen social cohesion by In March 2001, the Stockholm European Council added intermediate targets for 2005 and one additional target: older workers' employment rate should be raised to 50% by The Barcelona European Council (in March 2002) called for an increase of the exit age from the labour market by 5 years in 2010 and set targets for the provision of childcare, particularly in order to facilitate women's employment (33% for children under 3 years of age, 90% between 3 years and mandatory school age). Furthermore, the Barcelona European Council called for the development of a number of EU-wide benchmarks for education and training, which were adopted in May For more information see 4

5 Lisbon and Stockholm targets Employment rates 2010 targets Current (2005) Total 70% 63% Women 60% 56% Older workers 50% 41% At the request of the heads of state and government at the Spring Council of 2003, the Commission established a European Employment Taskforce headed by Wim Kok, former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, to review the EES. The Commission and the Council integrated the findings of this Taskforce report 5 in producing their Joint Employment Report for the Spring Council of 2004, which confirmed the need for decisive action by Member States along the lines suggested by the Taskforce, focusing on increasing adaptability of workers and enterprises, attracting and retaining more workers, investing more in human capital and better governance. At the occasion of the midterm review of the Lisbon Strategy (2005), the Commission presented a Communication on growth and jobs (February 2005). This communication proposed a new start for the Lisbon strategy, refocusing policy efforts on two goals: delivering stronger, lasting growth and more and better jobs 6. The EES procedure was re-designed accordingly. 5. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs creating more employment in Europe is available at: 6. COM (2005) 24 5

6 The EES as part of the Lisbon Agenda The EES delivery from 2005 onwards is also integrated into the Lisbon governance cycle. 7 Since the adoption of the new Integrated Guidelines 8 in July 2005 a new EES framework covering a three-year period, from 2005 to 2008, was launched. The EES uses several instruments at EU and national level to co-ordinate the national employment policies. In a nutshell: Following a proposal from the Commission, the European Council agrees on a set of Integrated Guidelines. These set out common priorities for Member States' policies. The first adopted Integrated Guidelines were proposed by the Commission on April 2005 and adopted in July 2005 by the Council (see box). By early autumn, the Member States draw up a programme, the National Reform Programme, which describes how the Guidelines are going to be implemented at national level. The Commission, based on its assessment of the National Reform Programmes, adopts the EU Annual Progress Report in view of the Spring European Council. In parallel, the Commission envisages EU-wide initiatives to underpin national actions. The Commission Communication from July 2005 "Common Actions for Growth and Employment: The Community Lisbon Programme" 9 sets out the Community Lisbon Programme. The Commission may, if necessary, identify further actions to revise the Community Lisbon Programme and propose country specific recommendations. The Employment chapter of the Annual Progress Report is adopted by Council to form the Joint Employment Report in the beginning of the next year. 7. The co-ordination of national employment policies at EU level was exclusively built on the provision of Article 128 of the Treaty of the European Union until 2005, although the timetable of the Employment Guidelines (EGs) and Broad Economic Policy Guidelines (BEPGs) were harmonised as of OJ L /08/05, p COM(2005) 330 of 20/07/2005 6

7 Spring European Council Integrated Guidelines National Reform Programmes Community Lisbon Programme Annual Progress Report + possible Update of Guidelines and Recommendations Joint Employment Report Spring European Council Updated Integrated Guidelines and Recommendations National Implementation Reports Employment priorities and guidelines for : 17. To implement employment policies aimed at achieving full employment, improving quality and productivity at work, and strengthening social and territorial cohesion. Attract and retain more people in employment, increase labour supply and modernise social protection systems 18. To promote a lifecycle approach to work. 19. To ensure inclusive labour markets, enhance work attractiveness and make work pay for job-seekers, including disadvantaged people, and the inactive. 20. To improve matching of labour market needs. Improve adaptability of workers and enterprises 21. To promote flexibility combined with employment security and reduce labour market segmentation, having due regard to the role of social partners. 22. To ensure employment-friendly labour cost developments and wagesetting mechanisms Increase investment in human capital through better education and skills 23. To expand and improve investment in human capital. 24. To adapt education and training systems in response to new competence requirements. 7

8 The EES added value KE EN-D Even though progress has been made over the years, the EU still has a large gap to bridge to reach full employment, improve quality at work and strengthen social and territorial cohesion. The re-launch of the Lisbon Strategy in 2005 is meant to encourage action at EU and national level, concentrating their focus on growth and jobs. The EES, backed up by the European Social Fund, is a central pillar of the revised Lisbon Agenda in order to improve employment performances, policy-making and delivery, through better governance and mutual learning Employment rate in the EU EU 25 EU 15 NMS 10 BE CZ DK DE EE GR ES FR IE IT CY LV LT LU HU MT NL AT PL PT SI SK FI SE UK More information at: index_en.htm European Communities, 2006 Pictures: Carl Cordonnier / Dailylife Reproduction is authorised provided the source is acknowledged. Printed in Belgium on white chlorine-free paper