Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment Council : Measures Should Be Timely, Targeted and Temporary, Say Ministers

Magazine article European Social Policy

Employment Council : Measures Should Be Timely, Targeted and Temporary, Say Ministers

Article excerpt

Timely, targeted and temporary measures are needed to stimulate employment, prevent and limit job losses and manage the associated social impacts. These form part of the key messages adopted by the EU's employment ministers, on 9 March, to be addressed to the spring European Council, on 19 and 20 March. These messages(1) will also feed into the tripartite social summit, which will take place before the spring meeting of European leaders, and the May summit on the impacts of the crisis on employment.

The rate of unemployment in the EU is steadily increasing, with a further six million people projected to lose their job between now and 2010. According to the ministers, the Union's Lisbon strategy should be kept in place, notwithstanding that to date none of its objectives have been achieved. They believe that appropriate country-specific recommendations are the call of the day to keep the focus on the member states' reform commitments.

Alongside efforts to prevent and tackle unemployment, the ministers see the need to keep labour market reforms on track. A priority would be to facilitate access to employment and ease transitions within and into the labour market. They want to stick with the common principles of flexicurity, support job creation, improve anticipation and matching of skills with labour market needs, and reinforce access to training for the unemployed, the workers at risk of dismissal and the other vulnerable groups. The aim, according to the ministers, should be to keep workers in the EU active' as long as possible by discouraging early retirement by "avoidingameasures that induce premature withdrawal from the labour force, such as early retirement schemes or age barriers to training opportunities, so that participation in the labour market is retained and increased". …

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