Older workers – Member States and Commission cannot assess if programmes actually help – say EU Auditors:
Interview with Lazaros LAZAROU, Member of the Court
Première transmission: 05/03/2013
European Court of Auditors , IPC, Maalbeek room, Brussels
Fin de production: 05/03/2013
Increasing the employment rate of older workers is part of the EU’s strategic goals. But a new report by the European Court of Auditors has found that neither the Member States nor the Commission are in a position to establish how many older workers have gained new qualifications, or found or kept a job after having benefited from an action funded by the ESF. The necessary tools to provide relevant and reliable information in this respect have not been put in place by most audited member states.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Question by a journalist: What is going wrong here?
||SOUNDBITE by Lazaros Lazarou, Member of the Court (In English) saying that: Older workers are an important and increasing part of the workforce. The Lisbon agenda defines older workers as persons of ages between 55 and 64 years old. All of will get to this state at some stage and some of us are already part of this workforce. Since the Lisbon agenda, policy makers at the highest level have made the increasing unemployment rate of older workers as a priority but up until the current programme in period, nobody is in a position to know how much money has been spent on actions targeting older workers and what results have been achieved. This does not allow for modifications in policies and for lessons learned for future policy making; this is policy making in the dark.
||Question of a journalist: So what needs to be done?
||SOUNDBITE by Lazaros Lazarou (In English) saying that: The Commission should require member states to design operational programmes and monitoring and evaluation systems in such a way so that performance and the effectiveness of the European Social Fund can be measured. The Commission should also obtain consistent and reliable information from member states in order to produce information on the means mobilized and the results achieved.
||Question of a journalist: Is it just a problem for policies targeted at older workers?
||SOUNDBITE by Lazaros Lazarou (In English) saying that:
The scope of the audit focused on actions targeting older workers but there's no indication from the work that we have carried out and the reviews that we have carried out that these weaknesses are only limited to older workers. Looking back to 2009, the Court produced a special report N°17 on vocational actions for women co financed trough European Social Fund and basically the same weaknesses more or less have been identified in that special report.