Employment policy guidelines 2001


Adopt the employment guidelines for 2001, containing a series of adaptations to the employment guidelines for 2000 with regard to the National Action Plans and the 2000 Joint Employment Report. These guidelines are designed to maintain consistency and to follow up the integrated approach initiated in Luxembourg in 1997.


Council Decision of 19 January 2001 on Guidelines for Member States' employment policies for the year 2001.


The coordinated European Employment Strategy, launched by the Luxembourg process, was given a new strategic goal by the Lisbon European Council of March 2000: to make the European economy the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world with a view to ultimately regaining conditions of full employment.

These guidelines for 2001 are based on horizontal objectives and four pillars: improving employability, developing entrepreneurship and job creation, encouraging adaptability of businesses and their employees, and equal opportunities for women and men.

Horizontal objectives

The purpose of the horizontal objectives is to ensure that the guidelines are based on a coherent strategy. Some are quantitative, such as the objective of a 70 per cent employment rate by 2010, while others are not, such as the qualitative improvement of jobs. Lifelong learning and the participation of the social partners in the employment strategy supplement the recommendation to the Member States that they give due attention to all the four pillars in translating the Employment Guidelines into national policy.

Improving employability (first pillar)

The first of the four pillars is also the one with the largest number of guidelines. These focus on the following:

Developing entrepreneurship (second pillar)

Starting from the principle that the creation and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises are essential for the economy, Member States are urged to give particular attention to reducing significantly the overhead costs and administrative burdens for businesses wherever possible. Member States are also invited to exploit all potential sources of employment created by the new technologies.

Economic players at all levels (national, regional and local) are invited to participate in implementing the European Employment Strategy.

It is recommended that national tax systems be made more employment-friendly.

Adaptability (third pillar)

A knowledge-based economy must have an effective lifelong learning system. Companies must be encouraged to participate in this system. In order to promote the adaptability of workers and their employers, work organisation must also be modernised.

Equal opportunities (fourth pillar)

With a view to achieving the goal of equal opportunities and an increased employment rate for women, each of the pillars must take this dimension into consideration. Equality between women and men must be promoted through greater representation of women in all sectors of activity and occupations and also by promoting equal pay for work of equal value.

The reintegration of women and men in the labour market after a period of absence, such as parental leave, should be facilitated.

4) deadline for implementation of the legislation in the member states

Not applicable

5) date of entry into force (if different from the above)

Not applicable

6) references

Official Journal L 22, 24.01.2001

7) follow-up work

8) commission implementation measures