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Reintegrating the long-term unemployed into the labour market

Reintegrating the long-term unemployed into the labour market



Council recommendation — integration of the long-term unemployed into the EU’s labour market


  • Apart from its effects on the individual, long-term unemployment slows the potential growth of European Union (EU) economies and increases the risk of social exclusion, poverty and inequality, adding to the costs of social services and public finances.
  • The recommendation aims to offer EU countries a template for tackling the issue.


Recommendations for EU countries

Jobseekers should be motivated to register with an employment service, with better information on the support available. Within 18 months of becoming unemployed, jobseekers should be offered a job-integration agreement, to include:

  • a single point of contact to help them move into employment;
  • personalised assessment covering employability, barriers to employment and previous job-search efforts;
  • combining relevant services provided by different organisations;
  • personalised guidance from employment services and other partners;
  • clear goals and obligations, such as active steps to finding a job, accepting suitable work and participating in education or training.

The job-integration agreement should detail what the service offers to the unemployed person. Depending on availability in each EU country, and on individual circumstances, the agreement could also include:

  • job-search assistance and in-work assistance;
  • validation of non-formal* and informal* learning;
  • rehabilitation, counselling and guidance;
  • education, vocational education and training;
  • work experience;
  • social support;
  • early childhood education and care;
  • health and long-term care services;
  • debt counselling;
  • housing and transport support.

The job-integration agreement should be regularly monitored to adapt to changes in circumstances. There should be secure information-sharing of support history and assessments between service providers, and better information for jobseekers about job vacancies and training opportunities. Where appropriate, such opportunities could be in different regions and other EU countries, in particular using the European job mobility portal (EURES).

Closer links with employers

EU countries should also:

  • encourage and develop partnerships between employers, social partners, employment services, government authorities, social services, and education and training providers;
  • develop services for employers such as job vacancy screening, placement support, mentoring and training, and post-placement support;
  • focus financial incentives on schemes targeting integration into the labour market, such as recruitment subsidies and lower social insurance contributions.

Assessment and monitoring

Recommendations for the Commission

The Commission is recommended to:

  • support and coordinate voluntary initiatives and alliances of companies in the sustainable integration of long-term unemployed persons into the labour market;
  • support social innovation projects to integrate long-term unemployed persons into the labour market, in particular through the Progress strand of the EU programme for employment and social innovation (EaSI);
  • evaluate the action taken in response to this recommendation and report to the Council by 15 February 2019.


For more information, see:


Non-formal learning: organised learning (e.g. led by a teacher or a person with more experience than the individual being taught) which may or may not be based on a curriculum. It builds on an individual student’s skills but does not result in a formal qualification, e.g. the scout movement.

Informal learning: learning that is not curriculum-based and does not result in qualifications. The teacher is someone with more experience than the individual being taught e.g. a parent teaching the alphabet to a child.


Council recommendation of 15 February 2016 on the integration of the long-term unemployed into the labour market (OJ C 67, 20.2.2016, pp. 1–5)


Council Decision (EU) 2015/1848 of 5 October 2015 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States for 2015 (OJ L 268, 15.10.2015, pp. 28–32)

last update 22.11.2016