Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment : Report Urges "Rapid, Relevant and Coordinated Action"

Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment : Report Urges "Rapid, Relevant and Coordinated Action"

Article excerpt

Improve "flexicurity pathways" and create "better skills matching": these are the two key areas where the European Commission sees "the need to reinforce certain efforts" during the economic meltdown. In its Joint Employment Report 2009, the Commission provides an analysis of the EU labour market, indicating that "some member states will need to take measures that go beyond their plans laid out in the national reform programmes". The EU executive adopted this report, together with the country chapters' and recommendations, on 28 January.

It is essential to take "rapid, relevant and coordinated action," says the report, "to minimise the effects of the economic downturn on people's jobs, purchasing power and prosperity and to restore confidence". In particular, "Flexicurity is essential in easy and secure employment transitions. The right skills are an important element in getting the unemployed into jobs and improving employment security."

According to the report, the EU already has "two effective financial tools to support these priorities": the European Social Fund (ESF) and the European Globalisation adjustment Fund (EGF). The ESF could, for example, provide "training combined with personalised job counselling, [...] subsidised employment as well as grants for self-employment and business start-ups". "Member states should consider re-programming [ ] ESF expenditures in order to strengthen these priorities," says the report.

Alongside short-term measures, structural problems (eg market segmentation) should not be forgotten. …

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