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European employment strategy - Employment guidelines

The employment guidelines, proposed by the Commission and approved by the Council, present common priorities and targets for the national employment policies. They have been integrated in the package with the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines since 2005.

In March 2015, the Commission adopted a proposal for a new package of integrated policy guidelines to support the achievement of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, and the aims of the European Semester of economic policy coordination. On 8 March 2016 the Council agreed on a general approach for confirming the guidelines for the current year.

Specifically, they frame the scope and direction for Member States’ policy coordination and provide the basis for Country Specific Recommendations.

The newly proposed set of integrated guidelines reflect the new approach to economic policy-making built on investment, structural reform and fiscal responsibility.

They do so by targeting four key domains:

  1. Boosting demand for labour, and in particular guidance on job creation, labour taxation and wage-setting.
  2. Enhanced labour and skills supply, by addressing structural weaknesses in education and training systems, and by tackling youth and long-term unemployment.
  3. Better functioning of the labour markets, with a specific focus on reducing labour market segmentation and improving active labour market measures and labour market mobility.
  4. Fairness, combating poverty and promoting equal opportunities.


The employment guidelines were first adopted together with the broad economic policy guidelines as an "integrated package" in 2005 and on 27 April 2010 a new set of integrated guidelines was adopted underpinning the Europe 2020 Strategy. It was then decided that the integrated guidelines would remain largely stable until 2014.