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Shared commitment for employment

03/06/2009 Shared commitment for employment

The EU will make available €19 billion of planned European Social Fund expenditure to support people hit by the economic crisis.

The EU will also frontload funds and co-financing by Member States will not be necessary for 2009-2010. Together with the European Investment Bank Group and other partners, a new EU loans facility will be set up to provide micro-credits for those who would usually have difficulty accessing the necessary funds to set up a business or micro-enterprise. The 'EU Shared Commitment for Employment' puts forward key priorities and actions to preserve jobs and help those facing difficulties while paving the way for recovery. The objective is for all relevant actors, trade unions and employers' organisations, as well as Member States and the EU to work together to deliver on this commitment. The proposals will be presented to EU leaders for their agreement at the European Council on 18-19 June.

The Commission puts forward three key priorities: maintaining employment, creating jobs and promoting mobility; upgrading skills and matching labour market needs; and increasing access to employment. They should be seen as complementary to other actions being taken by the Commission to face the crisis, including recent proposals on financial supervision and the proposal to make the European Globalisation Fund work better in times of crisis . They are also consistent with the EU’s longer term strategies to reform labour markets including the Lisbon Strategy. There is a particularly strong focus on young people to provide them with the training and work opportunities they need to ensure they don’t miss their entry into the labour market this year because of the crisis.

The Commission proposes a series of actions, including:

  • Accelerating €19 billion of planned funding to help people to stay in work or move towards new jobs, through upgrading skills, encouraging entrepreneurship and improving public employment services under the European Social Fund. For the period 2009-2010, the Commission can reimburse Member States' declared expenditure at a rate of 100%. That means there is no need for national co-funding so that projects that help people can be put in place more quickly.
  • Reallocate €100 million from the existing EU budget which - when combined with funding from international financial institutions, particularly the European Investment Bank Group - will provide more than €500 million for the creation of a new EU microcredit facility. These micro-credits will support those at-risk of not obtaining funds to set up a business such as the recently unemployed and reinforce employment in micro businesses facing the credit crunch.
  • A commitment to provide at least 5 million apprenticeships across the EU for young people facing unemployment; and the setting of targets to provide young unemployed with early opportunities for training or work.
  • Support for schemes – including through the ESF - to maintain viable employment through short-time work and training.
  • Immediate help for the unemployed to avoid the risk of long-term unemployment and the loss of relevant skills, including proposals that an early opportunity for training or work should be provided to each unemployed person: within 1 month for young people under 20 years old, within 2 months for those under 25 years old, and within 3 months for over 25 year olds. The ESF should support the achievement of these "new start" targets.
  • Help to get the most disadvantaged back into jobs, for example, through lower non-wage labour costs, recruitment incentives and the promotion of low-skilled job opportunities in household and care services.
  • New online 'map and match' service to help jobseekers match their skills with job vacancies throughout Europe via the existing European jobs portal EURES and a commitment that unemployed people looking for a job in another Member State should be eligible to receive, for at least 6 months, the unemployment benefits they were entitled to in their country of residence.
  • A focus on skills upgrading and a better match with labour market needs, with a Commission sector-by-sector analysis of EU labour market needs today and for the future including green skills.
  • A practical toolkit to help companies, workers and their representatives better manage and anticipate business restructuring.
  • A guide for training in small businesses to help SMEs maintain and obtain the skills they need.

This communication comes as a follow-up to the recent EU Employment Summit of May 7.

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