I would now urge Member States to adopt and to apply the Quality Framework as soon as possible so that young people can take full advantage of traineeships as a way to get a permanent job.
Failure is not an option, in the sense that we must succeed in offering today’s labour market entrants a decent future, or we run the risk of squandering the economic potential of a large part of today’s young generation, which would undermine Europe’s growth for decades ahead.
Our policy work needs to keep up with the rapidly changing pension landscape in the EU.
Are you part of a lost generation? Not necessarily! But only if economic recovery picks up and we take bold measures such as the youth guarantee and redesign the Economic and Monetary Union to promote more convergence and equity.
Because prevention is better than cure, we need to invest more in children now — for their well-being today and our collective economic and social future tomorrow. That is the main message of the Commission Recommendation on Investing in Children: let’s break the cycle of disadvantage.
The draft Joint Employment Report, that the Commission has just approved together with the Annual Growth Survey, gives a specific assessment of employment and social trends in Europe and of recent policy developments.
I believe Europe needs a political framework for the next period which allows the European Social Model to strengthen. However, strengthening cannot happen without rethinking our social model, and it will not succeed if we do not address the problems of the underlying economic model at the same time.
What I really like about ESCO is its focus on skills and competences that may be relevant for a number of different jobs. A strong skills base and an ability to put skills and competences to productive use are key if Europe is to successfully compete with emerging economies.
European labour law plays a key role in guaranteeing decent working conditions. It was initially designed to ensure that the introduction of the EU's Single Market did not lead to a lowering of labour standards or distortion of competition. Today, labour law also plays a key role in ensuring that a high level of employment and sustained economic growth are accompanied by a continuous improvement in living and working conditions throughout the EU.
Social dialogue is not part of the problem — it is part of the solution to the crisis, and genuine social dialogue has added value in economic and social policy-making. Strong social-dialogue institutions allow the views of all parties to be taken into account, and help identify the sticking points and the areas where people can agree. This can lead to a balanced policy mix that furthers social justice and competitiveness too.