Thanks to the extensive EU legislation implemented in the Member States, statistics on accidents at work show that workplaces across the EU are now much safer and workers are better protected than in the past. The two EU strategies on health and safety at work have certainly contributed to this success.
Despite its good performance, Germany cannot rest on its laurels. First, not all participants in the labour market have benefited to the same extent from the positive developments in the past. [...] Secondly, the economic outlook shows that the growth rate has slowed down. [...] Thirdly, in the medium term Germany’s active labour force is projected to shrink from 45 million in 2010 to 41 million in 2020.
Within the European Union, most policy instruments to implement active ageing strategies are in the hands of the Member States. But what the European Union can do is encourage the Member States to tackle the problems and get them to work effectively together.
The challenges of an ageing population and the economic crisis are huge, but by implementing the policies sketched out in the White Paper we can ensure that pensions remain adequate, affordable and sustainable — provided action is taken in time.
A strong EU employment agenda represents a pathway towards economic recovery and a way out of today's social crisis. People from the EU institutions, governments, trade unions, employers, NGOs and academics need to work together build this pathway.
The agenda for a job-rich recovery we have set out is about bringing together reforms and investments, connecting macro- and microeconomics and creating synergies between different policy fields. But most of all it’s about bringing people together. Social partners, national parliaments, companies, a number of different ministries, regional and local governments, EU institutions, labour market institutions – we all have to work together in order to put people to work and in that way generate a recovery in Europe.
The main responsibilities for action and progress lie at national level, but the EU will remain committed to work with the Member States and monitor progress on visible and sustainable positive changes in the lives of the Roma. My hope is that after drawing the lessons from the Kiútprogram, they could be fed into our microfinancing initiatives, while the methodology will be adapted to each national situation.