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Agenda for new skills and jobs


This initiative is how the Commission will help the EU reach its employment target for 2020: 75% of the working-age population (20-64 years) in work.

The Agenda also contributes to achieve the EU's targets to get the early school-leaving rate below 10% and more young people in higher education or equivalent vocational education (at least 40%), as well as to have at least 20 million fewer people in or at risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020.


The Agenda presents a set of concrete actions that will help:

  • Stepping up reforms to improve flexibility and security in the labour market ('flexicurity')
  • Equipping people with the right skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow
  • Improving the quality of jobs and ensuring better working conditions
  • Improving the conditions for job creation


  • 23 million people are currently unemployed across the EU – 10% of the active population
  • For our economy to grow and remain competitive, we need more jobs
  • From 2012 onwards our working age population will start to shrink. To ensure the sustainability of our welfare systems, more people need to work

New Skills for New Jobs

The 'New Skills for New Jobs' initiative launched in 2008 set out the Commission's agenda for better skills upgrading, anticipation and matching. Despite the similarities in names, the flagship is much wider and includes flexicurity, job quality and working conditions and job creation. Skills development forms one of the four main areas of the flagship.