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EU tackles social dimension of economic crisis

EU tackles social dimension of economic crisis

The European Union has reinforced efforts to promote employment and social inclusion, as part of its strategy to deal with the economic and financial crisis.

Mobilising EU funding

  • A €200 billion recovery package was announced by the European Commission in November 2008.  About €170 billion will come from Member States’ budgets, while the EU and European Investment Bank (EIB) will together provide €30 billion.
  • The Commission has proposed to simplify criteria for support from the European Social Fund (ESF), re-programming spending and stepping up advance payments from early 2009, so that Member States have earlier access to up to €1.8 billion to reinforce active labour market policies, refocus support on the most vulnerable, step up action to boost skills and where necessary opt for full Community financing of projects during this period.
  • The Commission has suggested making changes to the European Global Adjustment Fund (EGF), which was devised to help redundant workers get back to work. If accepted, the proposals would enable the EGF to intervene more quickly to provide cash for training and job placement schemes.  The annual budget available under the EGF amounts to up to €500 million.
  • The European Union has set up a new European Progress Microfinance Facility providing microcredit to small businesses and to people who have lost their jobs and want to start their own small businesses.

Promoting employment

  • The EURES jobs portal provides support for jobseekers who want to take up the right to work in another European country.
  • The “new skills for new jobs” initiative aims to improve the way Europe analyses and predicts the economy’s future skills requirements.  This will help to match people to jobs more efficiently and provide an insight into training needs.
  • The European Employment Strategy, which is one of the pillars of the EU’s Strategy for Growth and Jobs, continues to provide a framework for Member States to take coordinated action to promote employment in the context of the crisis.
  • The Commission has stepped up its monitoring of the employment and social situation, including the publication of a new series of monthly monitoring reports on the rapidly changing situation. 
  • The European Commission has adopted a "shared commitment for employment", which puts forward key priorities and actions to preserve jobs and help those facing difficulties while paving the way for recovery.

Cooperation with the social partners

  • The Commission has been in close contact with representatives of employers and trade unions to discuss the impact of the economic and financial crisis, including a high-level tripartite summit on 19 March 2009.
  • A Report on Industrial Relations published by the Commission in February 2009 indicated that constructive dialogue between employers and trade unions can help the EU to deal with the crisis.

Cooperation with international partners

  • The EU played a leading role in the G20 Summit in London on 2 April 2009, which agreed international action to stimulate the economy and improve regulation of the financial sector.
  • Commission Vladimir Spidla discussed the social dimension of the crisis with his counterparts from the G8 countries at the G8 Labour Ministers meeting on 30 March 2009.
  • Employment Summit: May 7, 2009 - reinforcing efforts to promote employment and social inclusion in the light of the financial crisis.