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Follow-up to the Essen European Council on Employment

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Follow-up to the Essen European Council on Employment


The Essen European Council called on the Labour and Social Affairs and Economic and Financial Affairs Councils and the Commission to keep close track of employment trends, monitor the relevant policies of the Member States and report annually to the European Council on further progress on the employment market, starting in December 1995.

The European Council has identified five priorities for action on the labour market:

  • to promote investment in vocational training;
  • to make growth more employment-intensive;
  • to reduce indirect labour costs;
  • to increase the effectiveness of labour market policy;
  • to reinforce measures to help the groups at risk of exclusion from the labour market.

2) ACT

Communication from the Commission to the Council on the follow-up to the Essen European Council on Employment.

3) ACT

The Communication proposes orientations with a view to progressively instituting a process of surveillance of the functioning of the employment system as defined in the White Paper on "Growth, Competitiveness, Employment".

To achieve this goal it would be useful to

  • develop this coherent approach on employment in the context of Article 103 of the Treaty;
  • identify the key characteristics of employment performance;
  • identify with Member States the essential elements and factors for the adaptation of education and training systems;
  • include in Member States' medium-term programmes and/or convergence programmes sections dealing with employment trends and policies, including the five action points indicated in the conclusions of the Essen summit;
  • reinforce the machinery for cooperation with the services of the Member States to ensure the necessary flow of information;
  • ensure coherence between the Structural Funds and the Member States' multi-annual programmes, paying particular attention to the implementation of the Community Support Frameworks and Community Initiatives.

The Commission will include a larger and more developed employment chapter in its recommendation on "broad guidelines" for the economic policies of the Member States and the Community. This year's annual report on employment will focus on the five priorities identified in Essen, i.e. to improve workers' employability by promoting investment in vocational training, to make growth more employment-intensive, to reduce non-wage labour costs, to develop a more effective labour market policy and to strengthen measures in favour of groups particularly affected by unemployment.

4) implementing measures

5) follow-up work

On 11 October 1995 the Commission adopted a Communication on trends and developments in employment systems in the European Union, the European employment strategy: recent progress and prospects for the future [COM(95) 465 final].

In this Communication, the Commission expresses the opinion that full implementation of the macroeconomic part of the broad guidelines on economic policy would enable investment-led growth of 3-3.5% per year to be achieved over the period 1995-2000. More than 11 million new jobs would be created, resulting in a fall in the unemployment rate to around 7.5%. A further reduction could be achieved by implementing structural measures.

As far as the functioning of the labour market is concerned, the Communication reveals that the Member States have made a great effort to establish coherent medium-term national programmes incorporating the priorities set out in Essen.

The Communication also addresses certain specific themes, such as the environment, SMEs, taxation and social protection systems, and the contribution of the Structural Funds to employment.

Council Decision 97/16/EC of 20 December 1996 setting up an Employment and Labour Market Committee [Official Journal No L 6, 10.1.1997].

This Decision set up an Employment and Labour Market Committee consisting of two representatives per Member State and two Commission representatives. Its task is to help the Council carry out its responsibilities in these fields.

In particular, the Committee keeps track of employment trends for men and women in the Community and monitors Member States' employment and labour market policies. It facilitates exchanges of information and experience between Member States and with the Commission in these fields. Finally, it prepares reports and proposals on these questions.

This Decision has been repealed by Decision 2000/98/EC setting up the Employment Committee .

Last updated: 01.07.2003