EU employment guidelines can help member states confront legacy of economic crisis
Tackling unemployment in the EU will require more investment and better job mobility, writes Georges Bach.
The employment policy guidelines published by the commission and which parliament is set to vote on this week are the first since 2010, and they must take the legacy of the crisis on board, especially when it comes to the epidemics of our time - unemployment, social exclusion and poverty.
They should be perceived as a toolbox supplying flexible and tangible measures, with the overall aim of achieving the 2020 strategy targets.
For the European people's party (EPP) group, fully supporting newly created growth in the member states is very important, as it can be fragile in its early stages.
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In several member states, the prescribed structural reforms have started to bear fruit. Combined with much-needed investments in education, qualification and skills, this is a recipe for strong, sustainable growth and jobs throughout Europe. Along with SMEs, the green, white and blue sectors must be promoted as job creators.
In order to boost demand for labour, member states should shift the tax burden away from it. This is a very important discussion that we need to lead in the coming years.
The initiatives transpiring from the employment guidelines should be implemented in close collaboration with national parliaments, regional and local authorities as well as social partners in full respect of national rules and practices.
This is key to tackling country-specific employment problems that require a flexible approach - a one-size-fits-all solution would not be helpful.
In the short run, the social effects of the crisis need to be targeted in an effort to counterbalance them. There needs to be more investment in combating youth unemployment, in parallel to fighting long-term unemployment.
This will require a variety of measures and initiatives. Better mobility for jobseekers - through the European job mobility portal, for example - better coordination of social security systems and the recognition of qualifications all form part of the solution.
In an effort to improve access to the labour market, special attention is being paid to removing administrative burdens and cutting red tape, without impeding on the rights of workers or health and safety rules.
The employment guidelines need to be clear, precise and above all, have an added value for the member states' current employment policies.
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