EU European Union, EES European Employment Strategy, working conditions, Europe, employment, labor markets, employment conditions, unemployment, Luxembourg Summit, Lisbon Council, Susan M. Heathfield, job insecurity, regional disparities, Eurofound European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, legislation, collective agreements, work rules, employment contract, IMF International Monetary Fund, new forms of employment, women's labor force participation, European Commission
Over the last ten years, employment has remained the top concern of Europeans, including new EU members. In fact, due to the lack of change in each national level, EU citizens have grown to trust the European Union more than their own governments to improve their country's employment situation.
But, on the other hand, several analyzes show that the scale and scope of the challenge of putting in place a Europe-wide employment strategy seems to have been downplayed by the leaders of this organisation. In reality, the obstacles are present both in the phase before the accession of the new Member States and in the phase after.
[...] Moreover, we can see the European Commission's lack of interactivity and anticipation. All the relevant points mentioned above will be thoroughly examined in the following lines. The relationship between the member states and the EES Before anything, it is important to mention that, according to the Employment Report published in 2004, "despite low economic growth, the EU's employment rate doubled to 0.6 percent, and its unemployment rate stabilized at around 9 percent." We therefore understand that the EES had impacted the EU employment sector. [...]
[...] The derotation kept growing in some countries, especially new member states, thus not allowing them to stabilize their employment as expected, when adhering to the EES. The influence of the World Bank was present because it encouraged all European countries to take some measures in order to protect national budgets. In fact, as a result, drastic cuts were made across the board, and the social protection expenditure scheme was dismantled. To be specific, « The Czech Republic, was one of the countries that went the furthest with these budget cuts, with expenditures in this area falling from 42 percent of the national budget in 1989 to 33 percent in 1994 and 18 percent in 2001 ». [...]
[...] While the Europe was supposed to benefit of a stability in the employment sector, only some countries conditions were improved. The very first interpretation involves the EES's content, specifically the guidelines: this instrument developed for the fifteen countries making the EU at that time, was transformed to better adapt to their situation, without being particularly concerned with that of the new member states. Under these conditions, it was impossible for Europe to pursue common goals at the national level. From its creation, the EES has prioritized increased employment levels. [...]
[...] Moreover, the effective communication on the strategies and measures that will be taken were not clearly explained to the leaders of the various countries. During the establishment of the EES, a certain transparency and honesty were useful so that the countries wishing to adhere to the strategy clearly identified what it consisted of. The objectives had to be clear and achievable, and the member states should already be able to see what their interest would be if they joined the EES. Trust had to be the basis of everything from the start. [...]
[...] Also, the EU's recovery has been job rich but not particularly hours rich. Till 2013, the volume of total hours worked in the economy decreased in the EU and the eurozone, absorbing output downturn. Total hours worked increased two years later, although they did not go back to the way they were in 2008. This is another aspect of the labor market that the EES must bring to stability. Despite the decline in the employment sector in many European countries, there was some improvement. [...]
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