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Guidelines for employment policies

Council guidelines provide direction for the coordination of European Union (EU) Member States' employment policies. Based on the Europe 2020 strategic objectives, these guidelines aim to support reforms for sustainable growth driven by knowledge and innovation.


Council Decision 2010/707/EU of 21 October 2010 on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States.


The EU Member States take the guidelines for employment policies into account when drafting their policies and setting national targets. The latest guidelines are valid until the end of 2014.

The guidelines are associated with the broad guidelines for economic policies, together forming integrated guidelines for the Europe 2020 strategy. They also underpin the EU's annual Joint Employment Report.

Increasing labour market participation

The EU aims to increase the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64 to 75% by 2020. In their policies, Member States must therefore promote the labour market participation of young people, older workers, low-skilled workers and legal migrants. They must also make employment more attractive - focusing on flexicurity, worker mobility and work-life balance - and promote self-employment, entrepreneurship, plus job creation, including in the areas of care and green jobs.

Developing a skilled workforce

Workers' productivity and employability can be increased by developing new skills that correspond to labour market needs. Member States must extend the capacity of education and training systems and adapt them to societal trends in line with a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy.

Measures must focus on high-quality initial education, lifelong training, and training must be open to low-skilled or highly skilled workers.

Member States should also encourage labour mobility, with systems for recognising people's acquired competences.

Improving education and training systems

By 2020, early school leaving is to be reduced to less than 10% and at least 40% of 30-34 year-olds are to have completed tertiary or equivalent education. Member States must promote lifelong learning, international mobility of teachers and learners, development of qualification frameworks for flexible learning pathways, and partnerships with enterprises.

Combating social exclusion

The Europe 2020 strategy promotes social inclusion and combats poverty, so that 20 million people no longer face the risk of poverty and exclusion.

Member States should boost the employment of those furthest away from the labour market, so as to empower people and combat in-work poverty.

National policies must guarantee access to affordable, sustainable and high-quality services, including in the social sector. They should also modernise and support social protection and pension systems.

Lastly, Member States should support the social economy and social innovation, fostering equal opportunities and combating discrimination.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2010/707/EU



OJ L 308 of 24.11.2010

Amending act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Decision 2013/208/EU



OJ L 118 of 22.4.2013

Decision 2014/322/EU



OJ L 165 of 4.6.2014

Last updated: 28.07.2014