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Employment Policy in the EU

Latest news on employment policy in the European Union.

Employment Summit - briefing
Prague hosted the Employment Summit meeting of the leaders of the social Troika (the Czech Republic, Sweden and Spain), the European Commission and the social partners today. The aim of the summit was to discuss how to deal with the impacts of the current financial and economic crisis on employment. The meeting establishes general principles according to which the EU and the Member States should handle the crisis and recommends measures to limit the impacts of the crisis on the labour market on national and European level. At the same time it was an opportunity for a debate on reinforcing flexibility and restructuring the labour market so that it is best prepared for the period after the crisis.

Fight discrimination, harassment and violence against Lesbians and Gays in the EU: report
The EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) today publishes its new report "Homophobia and Discrimination on Grounds of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the EU Member States: Part II - The Social Situation". The report finds that discrimination, harassment and violence against LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) persons are widespread throughout the EU.

Publication: Europe for women
The European Union is involved in a number of areas that affect your daily life, from gender equality to product safety. How do you want the EU to shape these issues in the future? Use your vote at the European Parliament elections in June 2009 - Manuscript completed in March 2009.

Gender pay gap - EU campaign
Highly skilled and loyal employees are the most precious resource for a majority of small and medium-sized enterprises. This initiative aims to assist SMEs in Europe to increase their productivity and boost their competitiveness by breaking down the invisible barriers created by gender stereotypes, thereby maximizing the potential of their employees.

EU support to fight the crisis in the automotive sector
The European automotive sector, with 12 million jobs depending on this strategic industry, has been hit particularly hard by the current economic crisis with new registrations down by 20 per cent and gloomy expectations for 2009. Due to its close links to other sectors and the wide spread of supply industry and vehicle trade, the negative economic effects reaches out to millions of employees in all EU Member States. In today's communication, the European Commission defends a proactive stance to support industry in their efforts to withstand the crisis, soften negative effects and ensure long-term competitiveness. Building on the European Economic Recovery Plan of 2008, it sets various measures to improve access to credit, to clarify the rules for granting state aid in the particular circumstances, to boost the demand for new vehicles through coordinated national action, to minimise social costs and retain the skilled workforce and to defend fair competition in open markets. The Commission suggests a new partnership with industry, trade unions and EU Member States in the context of the CARS 21 process to accompany the common crisis response.

EU sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals - briefing
Questions and Answers on sanctions against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals

Monthly monitoring report on EU employment and social situation - Feb 09
In response to the need to closely monitor the rapidly changing situation on a more frequent basis and provide up-to-date information on recent developments following the economic crisis which hit in October 2008, a new monthly monitoring report on the EU labour market situation and outlook has been established in 2009. The report provides a factual, descriptive update which aims to shed light on the situation in European labour markets on a more timely basis.

Implementation of the European autonomous framework agreement on work-related stress: Report by the European social partners
On 15 December representatives of employers and workers at EU-level presented a report on how they have implemented their framework agreement on work-related stress. Stress is a serious work-related health problem and considered the primary cause of lost working days in Europe. The objective of the agreement is for workers and employers to work together at better identifying, preventing and managing stress.

Green paper on the European Workforce for Health
The European Commission has adopted a green paper on the EU workforce for health. This marks the beginning of a consultation period which aims to identify common responses to the many challenges facing the health workforce in Europe. In an ageing Europe, with growing healthcare costs and rising expectations from both citizens and patients, a high quality health workforce is crucial for successful health systems. The health workforce plays an important role in the EU economy accounting for about 10% of all jobs. In addition, 70% of EU healthcare budgets are allocated to salaries and employment related issues.

Bordeaux Communiqué - European Vocational Education and Training policy (VET) - briefing
On 25-26 November 2008, in Bordeaux, ministers responsible for vocational education and training (VET) of the EU Member States, the EFTA/EEA and candidate countries, the European Commission and the European Social Partners adopted the Bordeaux Communiqué which reviews the Copenhagen process on enhanced cooperation in VET.

Equal opportunities for women and men at the European Commission - briefing
The European Commission in 2007 recruited more women than men in all employment categories. Women accounted for 50.6% of appointments to administrator posts and 74% to assistant posts. Progress is particularly clear in appointments to administrator posts: 54.2% of non-management administrator appointments (vs. 44% in 2004), 31.5% for middle management (vs. 23.2% in 2004), and 35.1% for senior management (vs. 12.8% in 2004). At the same time, Commission departments are doing more to raise staff awareness, reconcile private and professional life, and enhance career development. These and other results are published today in the annual monitoring report on the "Fourth action programme for equal opportunities for women and men at the European Commission".

Employment in Europe Report (2008)
The Employment in Europe Report 2008 report shows that mobile workers from the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 have had a positive impact on Member States' economies and have not led to serious disturbances on their labour markets. "Employment in Europe" is the main tool of the European Commission's Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities DG for the analysis of employment performance and labour market developments in the European Union, the Acceding and the Candidate Countries.

Employment in Europe Report 2008 - briefing
A European Commission report published on 18 November 2008 shows that mobile workers from the countries that joined the EU in 2004 and 2007 have had a positive impact on EU Member States' economies and have not led to serious disturbances on their labour markets. Workers from the EU-8 as well as Bulgaria and Romania have made a significant contribution to sustained economic growth, without significantly displacing local workers or driving down their wages. Both for the EU as a whole and for most individual countries, labour flows have been limited compared to the size of labour markets and to inflows from non-EU countries.

Temporary Agency Work Directive - briefing
The European Parliaments has voted to approve the proposal for a directive on Temporary Agency Work. The European Parliament voted to support the Council's common position – adopted in June 2008 – without amendments so it can now become law. Over three million temporary agency workers currently working across the EU will benefit from better protection of their working conditions.

Work-life balance package - briefing
Millions of women throughout Europe will be entitled to longer and better maternity leave, under proposals unveiled on 3 October by the European Commission. A separate proposal would also improve the situation of self-employed women by providing equivalent access to maternity leave, on a voluntary basis. The two initiatives form part of a package of measures to improve work-life balance for all Europeans – both women and men. They aim to update and improve existing EU legislation and will now be sent to the European Parliament and national governments for discussion. Meanwhile, the European social partners have launched negotiations to improve other forms of family leave, such as parental leave.

European Job Days 2008
The 2008 European Job Days take in over 500 events around Europe during September and October.

European Commission action on the Roma
The Roma website of the European Commission. Roma are an integral part of European civilization. The European Union aims to promote their full inclusion into society and their participation in the economy, in the labour market, in cultural life and in decision-making.

Working conditions in the EU 2007–2008
Annual review of working conditions in the EU 2007–2008 - from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (pdf)

Regulation automatically approving aid for jobs and growth - guide
The European Commission has adopted a Regulation, which will come into force in the coming weeks, giving automatic approval for a range of state aid measures and so allowing EU Member States to grant such aid without first notifying the Commission. The Regulation authorises aid in favour of SMEs, research, innovation, regional development, training, employment and risk capital. The Regulation also authorises environmental protection aid, aid measures promoting entrepreneurship, such as aid for young innovative businesses, aid for newly created small businesses in assisted regions, and measures tackling problems, like difficulties in access to finance, faced by female entrepreneurs. As well as encouraging Member States to focus their state resources on aid that will be of real benefit to job creation and Europe's competitiveness, the Regulation reduces the administrative burden for public authorities, the beneficiaries and the Commission. This new General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) consolidates into one text and harmonises the rules previously existing in five separate Regulations, and enlarges the categories of state aid covered by the exemption. It will take effect 20 days after publication in the Official Journal, allowing Member States to grant better targeted aid immediately.

Communication on VAT reduced rates - guide
The European Commission made a proposal on 7 July 2008 to change the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC so as to provide EU Member States with the flexibility to apply reduced VAT rates for some specific services on a permanent basis. The Commission proposal covers areas where there is sufficient evidence that reduced rates do not create problems for the proper functioning of the Internal Market. The sectors concerned are mainly so called labour-intensive services and locally supplied services, including restaurant services. The proposal is also part of the small business act as SMEs dominate the sectors concerned. The proposal does not alter the principle that the application of reduced rates is optional for Member States.

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF)
The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund provides support to people losing their jobs as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation, e.g. when a large company shuts down or production is moved outside the EU, or as a result of the global economic and financial crisis.

Annual report on the European Globalisation adjustment Fund 2007
The Communication "Annual report on the European Globalisation adjustment Fund" contains a quantitative and qualitative report on the activities of the fund in the course of 2007.

Equal treatment beyond the workplace - guide
The Commission on 2 July 2008 adopted a proposal for a directive which provides for protection from discrimination on grounds of age, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief beyond the workplace. This new directive would ensure equal treatment in the areas of social protection, including social security and health care, education and access to and supply of goods and services which are commercially available to the public, including housing. Eurobarometer surveys show that a large majority of Europeans support such legislation: 77% back measures to protect people from discrimination in education and 68% in access to goods and services.

Renewed Social Agenda - guide
The European Commission will launch the Renewed Social Agenda in Brussels on 2 July 2008. This ambitious package presents a comprehensive answer to rapidly changing social and economic realities. It aims to promote social well-being of European citizens by bringing together a wide range of EU policies and instruments, while streamlining and modernising existing policy tools.

Whether during your studies, while starting your first job or looking for new challenges Europass allows you to effectively communicate your skills and qualifications in Europe. The European Commission provides this service free of any charge and in 29 different languages.