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Restructuring in the EU

31 August 2009
by inadim -- last modified 31 August 2009

Restructuring in the European Union is driven by several factors including a more open global economy, downturns in economic growth, an ageing population, introduction of new technologies affecting ways of working and the necessity to combat climate change and to reduce environmental impact.


What is the EU doing?

To limit the negative impacts of these changes and to reinforce positive ones, the European Union is taking action in the following areas:

  • Anticipation - improving forecasting in order to help prepare workers, companies and regions for change
  • Preparation - investing in human and physical resources in order to be ready for future challenges (particularly through education and training);
  • Change Management – proposing solutions to minimise social costs. Encouraging information and consultation of workers.

The following initiatives have been launched:

  • Sectoral level analysis, as well as studies concerning restructuring
  • The organisation of restructuring fora bringing together key stakeholders
  • The establishment of a Commission task force, in order to ensure that all EU policies work together in a coherent way to address the challenges of restructuring


The impact can be especially severe in regions that have limited alternative jobs and low skills levels amongst the workforce. The EU supports analysis of these sectoral trends and regional impacts.

Future skills needs

In order to ensure sound change management, the Commission has conducted 18 sectoral studies that seek to identify emerging competences and future skills needs. By applying a common foresight scenario-based approach, these studies provide options both for anticipating and adapting to change. The studies cover the following areas:

Automotive sector

Defence industry

Textiles, apparel and leather products

Printing and publishing

Chemicals, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastic products

Non-metallic materials

Electromechanical engineering

Computer, electronic and optical products

Building of ships and boats


Electricity, gas, water and waste

Distribution, trade

Hotels, restaurants and catering


Post and telecommunications

Financial services

Health and social work

Other services, maintenance and cleaning


Source: European Commission