A report commissioned by the European Commission from the European Social Policy Network of independent experts (ESPN) published today shows an inadequate response in the Member States regarding the reintegration of the long-term unemployed.
The measures in place are often too limited or too narrowly focussed. The complexity and gaps in national systems lead to numerous long-term unemployed not receiving effective social services, social assistance or activation support once their unemployment benefit ends.
What is needed?
To ensure a holistic response and help many long-term unemployed overcome the obstacles they face, there is a need for
- a broad range of measures, such as adequate income benefits, good quality active labour market programmes and social services,
- effective coordination between employment, social assistance and social services,
- an individualised and tailored approach.
The report concludes that considerable investments and efforts are needed in all three areas, although some countries and regional and local authorities have developed effective systems of support and there is much good practice that can be drawn on.
The recommendations in the report urge the national and sub-national authorities to:
- implement a specific strategy to prevent and tackle long-term unemployment,
- develop individual actions plans and personalised integration contracts addressing social and health needs,
- maintain adequate income benefits,
- ensure close coordination between all employment and social services,
- invest in the employment, training and support of front-line staff.
Marianne Thyssen, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, is currently looking into improving services for the long-term unemployed.
The European Commission 2015 Work Programme proposes an initiative for promoting integration and employability in the labour market. The objective is to improve transitions to the labour market by providing a comprehensive framework for Member States to strengthen support given to those it affects, inter alia by cooperation between organisations providing this support.
As part of the preparation for this initiative and to feed into its future work in the area of active inclusion, the Commission asked the European Social Policy Network to prepare country reports to examine the availability and effectiveness of integrated support for the long-term unemployed in each European country.
The synthesis report takes as its starting point the 2008 European Commission Recommendation on active inclusion which sets out common principles and practical guidelines for a comprehensive strategy based on three integrated pillars: adequate income support, inclusive labour markets and access to quality services.