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Employment and Social Policy

Employment and Social Policy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment and social policy


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy

Employment and social policy

European society is changing, influenced by different factors such as technological progress, the globalisation of trade and an ageing population. European employment, social affairs and equal opportunities policies contribute to improving people’s living conditions with a view to sustainable growth and greater social cohesion. The European Union (EU) plays the role of a trigger in social change. It has introduced a protective legal framework for European citizens. It fosters the cooperation of Member States, the coordination and harmonisation of national policies, and the participation of local authorities, unions, employers’ organisations and other stakeholders involved.

The priority aims of this policy are to increase employment and worker mobility, to improve the quality of jobs and, working conditions, to inform and consult workers, to combat poverty and social exclusion, to promote equality between men and women, and to modernise social protection systems.

Employment and social policy Contents

  • European Strategy for Growth: Europe 2020 Strategy, Intelligent growth, Sustainable growth, Inclusive growth
  • Priorities and objectives: the social agenda:Social agenda
  • Community employment policies: Partnership for growth and employment, Legal instruments for Community employment policies, Skills and mobility, Quality of employment
  • Social and employment situation in europe: Reports, Statistics
  • Job creation measures: General job creation measures, Promoting employment at a local level, Sectoral job creation promotion
  • Employment rights and work organisation: Protection of employee’s rights, Organisation of working time, Corporate social responsibility
  • Social dialogue and employee participation: Cross-industry social dialogue, Sectoral social dialogue, Information, consultation and participation of employees
  • Health, hygiene and safety at work: Equipment, signs and loads, Protection of specific groups of workers, The workplace, Chemical, physical and biological agents
  • Social protection: Coordination of social security regimes, Supplementary pension schemes, Modernising social protection
  • Equality between men and women: Gender mainstreaming, Female employment and entrepreneurship, Combating sexual harassment and violence against women
  • Social measures for target groups: disability and old age: Equal opportunities, Rights and dignity of handicapped persons, Pensions and healthcare for the elderly, Demographic changes
  • Social inclusion and the fight against poverty: Combating social exclusion, Social protection and the fight against poverty
  • Anti-discrimination and relations with civil society: Combating discrimination, Fundemental social rights, Relations with civil society
  • Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement: Social development, Measures aimed at target groups, Enlargement



Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Institutional affairs > Building europe through the treaties > The Amsterdam treaty: a comprehensive guide


Originally the policies and powers of the European Community were not on the agenda of the 1996 Inter-Governmental Conference. However, the disappointment engendered by the absence of a reference to employment in the Treaty on European Union (1992) and the initiative to combat unemployment mounted by the Essen European Council (9 and 10 December 1994) prompted the Member States to prioritise these issues at the Intergovernmental Conference on the revision of the Treaty of Maastricht, in order to respond to what is one of their citizens’ main concerns.

Following difficult negotiations due to the diversity of situations and national policies in the field of employment, a consensus finally emerged on the precedence of national policies and the rejection of large-scale spending programmes. The addition of a new chapter on employment in the Treaty establishing the European Community is the fruit of these negotiations.

A new objective for the European Union

Promoting employment is henceforth one of the objectives of the European Union and becomes a “matter of common concern” for the Member States (Article 2 of the EC Treaty). The new objective is to achieve “a high level of employment” without weakening the competitiveness of the European Union (Article 2 of the EU Treaty).

To achieve this objective a new power has been vested in the Union, supplementary to that of the Member States, concerning the preparation of a “coordinated strategy” for employment. The core of this strategy consists of common guidelines similar to those adopted at the Essen European Council.

The new Title VIII (Articles 125 to 130) of the EC Treaty spells out these objectives and how to achieve them. It also provides for the creation of an Employment Committee.

The Treaty’s explicit reference to employment institutionalises the initiatives mounted by the Member States at different European Councils as well as those mounted by the Commission over the past two years. Moreover, alongside the provisions on Economic and Monetary Union, it redresses the balance by adding to the macroeconomic provisions a number of measures that meet European citizens’ expectations as regards the struggle against unemployment. Indeed one of the hallmarks of this new Title is that repercussions on employment must be taken into account in adopting and implementing each Community policy and action.

Early implementation

At the Amsterdam Council of 16 and 17 June 1997 the Member States decided to apply the new provisions on employment in the Amsterdam Treaty ahead of schedule, and on 1 October the European Commission proposed guidelines for the Member States’ employment policies in 1998.


During the Intergovernmental Conference on Economic and Monetary Union (1992), a debate took place on the advisability of including employment among the convergence criteria which Member States had to respect if they wanted to participate in the single currency. This idea was rejected by most governments, who were keen to guard their prerogatives in the field of employment policy. During the national debates in the run-up to the ratification of the Treaty on European Union, the absence of any reference to employment in the new Treaty came in for heavy criticism. It looked as if the European Union cared little about unemployment and jobs – at a time when the Member States were finding themselves compelled to make difficult social choices in order to reduce their deficits in preparation for future Economic and Monetary Union.

Preliminary steps – Essen

In 1994 the Essen European Council (9 and 10 December) adopted – for the first time at European level – short- and medium-term lines of action on employment. The summit’s conclusions state that reducing unemployment is one of the priority tasks of the European Union and highlight the structural origins of much of European unemployment and the crucial role of meaningful dialogue between the social partners and policy-makers with a view to resolving this problem.

The European Council also defined five priority strands for Member States’ employment policies:

  • promoting investment in vocational training so that workers can adapt to technological developments throughout their working life
  • increasing employment during periods of growth (notably via more flexible work organisation, a wage policy designed to encourage job-creating investments and the encouragement of initiatives at regional and local level)
  • reducting nonwage labour costs to encourage hiring, in particular of unqualified workers
  • improving the effectiveness of labour market policy by a better definition of measures to raise wages and by regularly evaluating the effectiveness of labour market policy instruments
  • improving measures to help groups which are particularly hard hit by unemployment, notably long-term unemployment (young people leaving school without qualifications, elderly workers and women).

These recommendations have been implemented in the Member States in the form of multi-annual programmes. Each year the Commission prepares a report on employment trends and policies in the Member States and evaluates them in the light of the priorities that have been adopted.

The Confidence Pact

In June 1996 the European Commission mounted an “Action for employment in Europe: a Confidence Pact” with a view to mobilising all the players concerned at Community, national and local level, capitalising on the potential multiplier effect of these actions at European level, and enshrining the struggle against unemployment in the framework of a medium and long term vision of society. The Dublin European Council (13-14 December 1996) welcomed this initiative embracing all the economic and social operators and called for swift implementation of the draft territorial employment pacts (80 of these pacts had been signed by June 1997).

The European Union has also taken numerous job-creation measures under the Structural Funds and the European Social Fund. By including employment in the Community policies and putting it on the agenda of all European Councils, the Treaty of Amsterdam allows the development of Community employment initiatives and the creation of a consistent policy at European level.


The new Title VIII puts in place a coordinated employment strategy designed to encourage a skilled and adaptable labour force and to promote labour markets that are responsive to economic change.

Common guidelines

Firstly the European Council adopts conclusions on the employment situation in the Community on the basis of the annual report prepared by the Council of the European Union and the Commission.

These conclusions enable the Commission to propose employment policy guidelines each year that are compatible with the major economic guidelines laid down under monetary union (Article 99, ex Article 103). The Council adopts the guidelines by qualified majority after consulting the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the Employment Committee. The procedure is modelled on the convergence arrangements for national economic policies. However, the common guidelines do not advocate measures to harmonise national provisions, though they do have an indirect impact on Member States’ policy.

Member States must take these common objectives into account in their employment policies. The Council then examines the annual reports submitted by the Member States in this area and, if it deems necessary, addresses a recommendation – acting on a proposal from the Commission – to a Member State. This recommendation is then adopted by the Council by qualified majority.

This provision is similar to the one on economic policy, but no penalties are imposed on Member States that fail to comply with the Council’s recommendations. Nor does the Treaty state that these recommendations have to be published.

Finally, in contrast to the provisions on economic and monetary union, Title VIII does not prescribe any macroeconomic objectives to be achieved, along the lines of the economic convergence criteria. Certain Member States did not want binding objectives enshrined in the Treaty. In their view, putting a coordinated strategy in place already amounted to a major step forward.

Incentive measures

The Council may adopt initiative measures to promote employment, acting by qualified majority and in accordance with the codecision procedure involving the European Parliament. These measures should “encourage cooperation between Member States and to support their action in the field of employment through initiatives aimed at developing exchanges of information and best practices, providing comparative analysis and advice as well as promoting innovative approaches and evaluating experience, in particular by recourse to pilot projects”. They do not “include harmonisation of the laws and regulations of the Member States”. However, the coordinated strategy on employment should have an indirect impact on these rules.

The initiative measures are fleshed out in two declarations:

  • the actions must specify the grounds for their adoption, their duration (maximum five years) and the maximum amount of funding
  • their funding is limited because it must be provided under Rubric 3 of the Financial Perspectives, which represents approximately 6% of the Community budget.


A Committee on Employment and the Labour Market was established in December 1996. It has restricted powers. The new Article 130 of the EC Treaty replaces this Committee and requires the Council to establish an Employment Committee, on the lines of the Monetary Committee established by economic and monetary union.

This advisory committee promotes coordination between Member States on national employment and labour market policies. It monitors the development of these policies in the member states and the Community as a whole, formulates opinions either at the request of the Council or Commission or on its own initiative, and helps prepare the ground for the Council’s proceedings.

Like the former Committee on Employment and the Labour Market, it consists of two representatives of each Member State and the Commission. It consults the social partners.

Employment in Europe Report – 2006

Employment in Europe Report – 2006

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment in Europe Report – 2006


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social and employment situation in europe

Employment in Europe Report – 2006

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report “Employment in Europe 2006” [Not published in the Official Journal].


Economic growth in the European Union (EU) slowed in 2005. This deceleration seems to be temporary as it is mainly explained by the surge in oil prices. Despite this reduction, there was a modest but gradual increase in the employment rate in the EU (63.3% in 2004 to 63.8% in 2005). Further but relatively low employment growth and a drop in unemployment are forecast for 2006-2007. Despite this progress, the target of achieving the Lisbon objectives by 2010 is becoming increasingly challenging.

Whilst generally positive, the labour market situation differs from one Member State to the next. This can be seen from the working arrangements with types of contract, working hours, working hour arrangements (such as night work or Sunday work) etc. varying considerably within the EU. The general reduction in working time is notable, although the average working hours per employed person remain high in the new Member States.

The results for women are encouraging, with employment growth being faster than for men. However, the employment gap between the two sexes remains considerable in the southern Member States. The employment rates for prime-age males (those aged 25-54) and older people (aged 55-64) are rising steadily, in contrast to the stagnating rate for young people (15-24). Most of the Member States are still faced with the same challenge: integrating their migrants into the labour market.

This report on employment illustrates the current trends in the European labour market. The main topics examined are:

  • combining flexibility and security on the labour market, i.e. “flexicurity”;
  • active labour market policies (ALMPs), aimed at achieving more employment-intensive growth;
  • the relationship between human capital, technological development and economic growth;
  • the geographic mobility of workers.

Flexibility of working arrangements and job security: “flexicurity”

The use of stringent methods to protect employment slows down the flow of labour between different jobs and reduces the dynamism of the labour market. This is why the Commission calls on the Member States to seek common principles combining flexibility and employment security in the labour market (i.e. “flexicurity”). This concept is the tool to classify different European labour markets.

Finding a good balance between flexibility and security requires the interaction of four elements:

  • the flexibility of contracts;
  • the dynamism and effectiveness of labour market policies;
  • the credibility of education and training systems;
  • modern social security systems.

The transition towards a flexicurity system can lead to an increase or shift in government expenditure. However, some methods do not necessarily involve major economic constraints. They may provide for:

  • setting up individual and portable “unemployment” accounts;
  • replacing all types of labour contracts by a single one,
  • lowering firing costs;
  • creating a layoff tax to fund unemployment benefit and public employment services (PES).

Fixed-term and open-ended contracts need to be adjusted at the same time to avoid labour market segmentation. Opting to ease employment protection legislation for temporary contracts only is not the right solution. This alternative leads to precarious employment, a lack of adequate training and negative repercussions in terms of the productivity of workers on “atypical” contracts”.

Effective active labour market policies throughout Europe

When unemployment benefits are relatively high, the intensity of the job search declines and spells of inactivity become longer. The coordination of unemployment benefits (passive policies), shifting workers towards productive activities and improving job prospects (active policies) can offset this drawback.

The availability of effective active labour market policies (ALMPs) which support

  • transitions between jobs as well as from unemployment to jobs is essential. However, expenditure on these measures accounts for only about one-third of total spending allocated to European labour market policies. Both the European Employment Strategy (EES) and the OECD Jobs Strategy therefore recommend two actions:
  • on the one hand, to shift from (passive) policies which aim to provide unemployment benefit to (active) policies which attempt to achieve more employment-intensive growth;
  • on the other hand, to take account of the interactions between active and passive policies in order to increase their effectiveness.

The effectiveness of ALMPs is currently evaluated using micro- or macroeconometric

  • techniques. Microeconometric techniques measure the impact of participation in a programme on employment and earning prospects. They consider that spending on a training programme is relatively ineffective and advocate investment in employment incentives
  • and public employment services (PES). Although widely used, it is preferable to make use of macroeconometric techniques, as the latter make it possible to measure indirect and long-term consequences, sometimes reaching conclusions which contradict the microeconometric evaluations. They consider that investment in a training programme has a significant positive impact. This paradox can be solved by extending the observation period to include the medium and long-term effects of setting up a training system.

Human capital, technology and growth in the Member States

The skill profile of the working age population is constantly improving, particularly among women. The EU is moving towards a knowledge-based economy, reflected in a more employable and adaptable workforce. This progress is leading to increased employment and participation rates, especially for high-skilled non-manual occupations. However, despite the increase in workers’ skills and the objectives of the Lisbon strategy, investment in a high-skilled workforce is disappointing.

The build-up of an individual’s knowledge, skills and competences (“stock of human capital”) is related to growth. The economic models linking human capital to economic growth follow two main approaches. The first considers that physical capital and labour alongside the level of training are factors of production and growth. The second considers that the stock of human capital determines the capacity of a country to create new technologies and to absorb those from other countries. The stock of human capital explains the difference in growth rates between countries. Within the EU, productivity is essentially determined by human capital and technology.

A study using data from 14 Member States evaluates the impact of high-skilled labour on technological progress. This evaluation differentiates between the impact on a country’s capacity to innovate and on its ability to catch up with the technology leader. The speed of the latter depends both on the proportion of high-skilled workers in the total workforce and its distance to the technology frontier. As a country nears the technology frontier its ability to create new technology increases. A skilled labour force raises the ability of EU Member States to develop new technologies and to absorb those developed abroad. The combination of a highly skilled workforce and a flexible working environment enhances a country’s innovation capacity.

Growth also depends on the adaptability of workers. This capacity to adapt to change is one of the main features of a well-educated workforce. It guarantees the effective reallocation of workers. An employee’s working environment is also a factor when it comes to adapting.

Labour mobility

Less than 2% of working age citizens live in another EU Member State. Mobility within the EU is significantly lower than regional mobility. This low rate of mobility can be explained by language and cultural barriers, the fear of losing social ties, administrative red tape and lack of information.

Internationally mobile (to a non-EU country) EU-15 citizens tend to work in high-skilled white-collar positions. The majority of them are young, single, without children and well educated. Citizens from the ten new Member States (EU-10) are even younger, the majority are women and most of them are medium-skilled. They are therefore less likely to be in highly skilled positions and are concentrated mainly in skilled blue collar and elementary occupations.

Studies show that cross-border mobility is likely to increase between the EU-15 Member States. The levels of mobility forecast for the EU-8 countries (EU-10 minus Cyprus and Malta) will not pose any major and lasting challenges for the labour markets of the host countries. In the long term, falling numbers in the younger age group (which tends to be the most mobile) is likely to act as a brake on mobility.

The free movement of workers is one of the fundamental freedoms of European citizens and contributes to the smooth operation of the internal market. Actions are needed to foster the integration and acceptance of newcomers. Policies on geographic mobility need to be coupled with those on employment, education and immigration..


The 2005 employment report highlighted the importance of a comprehensive approach to reform in the face of rapid structural changes brought about by globalisation and population ageing. The 2006 issue corroborates this assertion and proposes different methods to help align the EES objectives with the renewed Lisbon Agenda.

Related Acts

Commission Report “  “. Recent developments and prospects [Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report “  “. Recent developments and prospects [Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report “Employment in Europe 2003”. Recent developments and prospects [Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report “Employment in Europe 2002”. Recent developments and prospects [Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report “Employment in Europe 2001”. Recent developments and prospects [Not published in the Official Journal].

Commission Report “Employment in Europe 2000”. Recent developments and prospects [Not published in the Official Journal].

Employment in Europe Report 2007

Employment in Europe Report 2007

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment in Europe Report 2007


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social and employment situation in europe

Employment in Europe Report 2007

Document or Iniciative

Report from the European Commission Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities – Employment in Europe 2007 [Not published in the Official Journal].


In 2006 the situation on the labour market improved throughout the European Union (EU). This trend was supported by the increase in economic growth which represented, on average, 3% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the EU. Most jobs created concerned women, workers aged 25-54 and employees in paid employment (90%). Employment rates were particularly high in Member States that joined on 1 May 2004.

The growth in employment and labour productivity led to progress in achieving the Lisbon Agenda objectives. However, reforms should still be made, particularly in order to reach the targets of 70% employment and 50% of older workers on the labour market. The target of 60% for female employment has almost been reached.

The low rate of employment for young people gives cause for concern. The transition between the completion of education and the first job is generally difficult. Young people are also very often trapped in low-paid and temporary jobs. Lifelong education and training contribute to reducing poverty and social exclusion. It is also necessary to facilitate the recruitment of young workers by enterprises.

Employment of older workers: active ageing strategies

The employment rate for people aged 55-64 has increased by 7% since 2000. However, the jobs that have been created are often precarious and part-time. Moreover, the participation of older workers on the European labour market remains low with respect to the strategy for the demographic future of Europe, as well as compared to international standards.

The measures adopted to foster active ageing aim in particular at the quality of healthcare, lifelong training, the flexibility of work organisation and the improvement of financial aspects of employment.

Flexicurity models in Europe

The flexicurity regimes applied by some Member States are based on different models. They favour either “external” flexibility, which involves human resources policies adapted to market constraints, or ‘internal’ flexibility characterised by work organisation which is adapted to workers’ needs. Two models are associated with these forms of flexibility:

  • the “Anglo-Saxon” model based on external flexibility, job mobility and innovation. This model is also characterised by a high level of poverty and low public spending;
  • the “Nordic” model essentially practices internal flexibility. It displays good economic results, greater satisfaction and occupational health, a low level of poverty and high public spending.

Continuing vocational training in enterprises

The Commission highlights the fact that government intervention is necessary to strengthen fair access and the effectiveness of continuing vocational training. In this regard, several points should be taken into account:

  • the reduction of social exclusion and income inequality;
  • active ageing, the employment of young people with a low level of education and the viability of social protection systems;
  • flexicurity policies implemented through more dynamic labour markets and the transferable nature of workers’ skills;
  • the development of knowledge in moving from mass production to production driven by quality and innovation.

The labour income share

The part of added value allocated to labour reached a historically low level in 2006. This trend is in particular the result of technological progress and globalisation. It may have a negative impact on social equity, economic efficiency and macro-economic stability. It is for this reason that developments towards a knowledge-based economy should be accompanied by employment and flexicurity policies that are particularly aimed at less qualified workers.

2009 Employment in Europe Report

2009 Employment in Europe Report

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about 2009 Employment in Europe Report


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Social and employment situation in europe

2009 “Employment in Europe” Report

Document or Iniciative

Commission Report “Employment in Europe 2009” [Not published in the Official Journal].


The year 2009 has been marked by the international financial crisis, which hugely affected the labour markets, after many years of growth in employment in Europe.

Although European Union (EU) countries may have been affected in different ways, they have all experienced a decrease in job offers. The Commission observes that certain population groups are more affected by the job losses: lower-skilled young people, temporary workers and older workers.

Through the internal flexibility of companies (shorter working hours, temporary partial unemployment, etc.) and wage concessions by workers, certain countries were able to limit the job losses. However, in 2010, the unemployment rate was expected to reach 11% in the EU.

In this context, European policies have a particular role to play. They must help to preserve jobs, help people into employment and support the most vulnerable. In addition, the Lisbon Strategy cycle comes to an end in 2010, and the EU must also develop new policy priorities in order to prepare for the transition to a low-carbon “green” economy.

Analysis of labour markets

European labour markets are relatively dynamic, which indicates that job offers correspond to demand. In fact in all the EU countries, workers can change job (22% per year), return to work or leave unemployment with relative ease.

However, long-term unemployment persists for certain population groups; it continues for more than a year for 45% of people affected. The most vulnerable people are women, older and low-skilled workers. To tackle this type of unemployment, the Commission recommends recourse to appropriate employment policies, based on the principles of flexicurity.

Climate change and the development of labour markets

The EU must adopt policies aimed at developing a competitive low-carbon economy. This transition towards a green economy must have a positive impact on the labour market, specifically through:

  • the construction of new infrastructures;
  • the development of new technologies;
  • direct employment in the renewable energy sector (production, installation and maintenance);
  • the development of new service sectors.

Forecasts indicate that the sustainable development sector could create between 2.3 and 2.8 million jobs between now and 2020.

Initially, high-skilled workers will benefit from the jobs created. Education and training actions should then help to increase the general skills level in the labour markets.

The Commission also recommends the introduction of policies based on the principles of flexicurity, a respect for workers’ rights and an increase in social spending.

Finally, the Commission highlights the need to reinforce social dialogue and the assessment of labour markets.

Employment and development of human resources

Employment and development of human resources

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment and development of human resources


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.


Employment and development of human resources

1) Objective

This initiative has three inter-related objectives corresponding to three distinct but inter-connected strands: to promote equal employment opportunities for women (“Employment-NOW”); to improve the employment prospects of the disabled and other disadvantaged groups (“Employment-HORIZON”); to promote labour market integration of young people, in particular those without basic qualifications or any training (“Employment-YOUTHSTART”).

2) Community Measures

Communication to the Member States laying down guidelines for operational programmes or global grants which Member States are invited to propose within the framework of a Community initiative on Employment and Development of Human Resources aimed at promoting employment growth, mainly through the development of human resources.

3) Contents

This initiative applies to the whole of the territory of the Union, with particular emphasis being placed on the less favoured regions.


It is a direct follow-up to the Commission’s White Paper on Growth, Competitiveness and Employment, the main thrust of which is to put the highest possible premium on pro-active labour market measures to stimulate employment-intensive growth.

The main features of Community initiatives in this field should be:

  • a transnational dimension – giving priority to transnational exchanges, cooperation and dissemination of information;
  • innovation – encouraging innovative approaches;
  • a bottom-to-top approach: pinpointing common local, regional and multisectoral problems and needs;
  • reinforcement of Community policies and programmes, especially in the field of employment, human resources and labour market integration.

Eligible measures

Member States are invited to select, in cooperation with the Commission, a more limited list of measures per strand on which to concentrate financial assistance.

a. Employment-NOW

This strand aims to help reduce unemployment among women and to improve their occupational status, qualifications and career prospects.

b. Employment-HORIZON

This strand will promote measures to improve access to the labour market for the disabled and other disadvantaged groups who are unemployed or face serious obstacles in integrating given their degree of marginalisation.

c. Employment-YOUTHSTART

This programme aims to stimulate actions by Member States which will eventually provide young people with guaranteed access to a form of education or training.

Within these three strands the following measures can qualify for assistance:

  • the development, especially through transnational cooperation, of appropriate training, guidance, counselling and employment systems;
  • training, especially with a transnational dimension;
  • job creation, in particular through transnational cooperation;
  • information and awareness-heightening campaigns, especially with a transnational dimension.


This initiative will cover the 1994-1999 period.


The actions covered by this initiative will be jointly funded by the Member States, the Community and by enterprises and other appropriate bodies.

The total contribution from the Structural Funds for the period 1994-1999 is estimated at ECU 1.4 billion, of which ECU 0.8 billion will be allocated to Objective 1 regions.

The following amounts will be allocated to each strand:

  • Employment-NOW: ECU 370 million,
  • Employment-HORIZON: ECU 730 million,
  • Employment-YOUTHSTART: ECU 300 million.

4) Deadline For Implementation Of The Legislation In The Member States

5) Date Of Entry Into Force (If Different From The Above)

6) References

Official Journal C 180, 01.07.1994

7) Follow-Up Work

8) Commission Implementing Measures


EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union

EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Economic and monetary affairs > Practical aspects of introducing the euro

EMU@10: successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 7 May 2008 to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the European Central Bank : EMU@10 – successes and challenges after 10 years of Economic and Monetary Union [COM(2008) 238 final – Non published in the Official Journal].


At the end of its first decade, the euro is a success story and represents the most tangible result of European integration. Low and stable inflation and interest rates over the past ten years have boosted investment in the euro area. Fiscal consolidation has continued and job creation has been at record levels. However, output and productivity growth have been lower than in other developed economies, and concerns about income distribution have grown. In the future, EMU faces challenges linked to ongoing globalisation, an ageing population, rising food and energy costs and the effects of climate change. .

Ten years of monetary and economic stability and integration

EMU has fostered economic and market integration by removing exchange rate risks and lowering cross-border transaction costs, helping to develop the single market and integrate product markets. Establishing itself as the world’s second currency after the US dollar, the euro is a powerful catalyst for financial market integration. The Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) will eliminate differences between national and cross-border retail payments.

A record 16 million jobs were created during the first decade of EMU, while unemployment fell to around 7 %, the lowest in more than fifteen years. In addition, EMU has brought significant benefits to European Union Member States engaged in a catch-up process, by providing an environment of macroeconomic stability and low interest rates coupled with the support of the Cohesion Policy and Structural Funds.

A single monetary policy, conducted by the European Central Bank (ECB), combined with national yet coordinated fiscal policies ensures macroeconomic stability. Currency fluctuation and exchange rate realignments within the euro area have become a thing of the past. Furthermore, monetary policy has cemented long-run inflation expectations: inflation averaged around 2 % in the first decade of EMU, falling from 3 % in the 1990s and 8 to 10 % in the 1970s and 1980s. This has contributed to improving the euro area’s resilience against adverse external developments.

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) improved budgetary discipline and the euro-area economy has pursued a faster track of economic and financial integration than the rest of the EU. Supporting macroeconomic stability, fiscal consolidation has been impressive over the past years and has culminated in a deficit of only 0.6 % of GDP in 2007 compared to an average of around 4 % in both the 1980s and 1990s.

EMU’s remaining challenges, amplified by new global trends

Although the first decade of EMU has been a positive picture overall, there are still unfulfilled expectations and remaining challenges, such as globalisation, rising food and energy prices and the ageing population. At around 2 % per annum; potential growth remains too low and there are still substantial differences across countries in terms of inflation and labour costs. At the international level, a clear strategy is needed so that the euro area can project a strong voice in international economic fora in an increasingly globalised world. Finally, the public image of the euro does not fully reflect EMU’s successful economic performance. In some countries, citizens believe that prices have increased significantly because of the euro. Indeed, even if overall inflation was only marginally affected at the time of the changeover, occasional abusive price increases in specific sectors and countries have tarnished the image of the single currency.

To address the challenges for the next decade, it is necessary to build on existing macroeconomic stability while raising potential growth and furthering the welfare of euro-area citizens, ensuring a smooth adjustment capacity as EMU expands to take on new members and protecting successfully the interests of the euro area in the global economy. To do this, the Commission has outlined a three-pillar agenda:

  • Domestic: deepening and broadening macroeconomic surveillance and better integrating structural policies into the overall policy co-ordination process within EMU;
  • External: enhancing the euro area’s role in global economic governance by developing common positions on international issues and by consolidating representation, with the ultimate objective of a single seat for the euro area in the relevant international financial institutions and fora;
  • Promoting effective governance of EMU: putting into practice both agendas requires a more effective system of economic governance.


In May 1998, the Council took the decision to move to the third and final phase of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) and to introduce the single currency, the euro. Used since 1 January 1999 as book money, euro banknotes and coins were introduced on 1 January 2002 in 12 Member States. At present, 17 out of 27 are part of the euro area.

Employment in rural areas: closing the jobs gap

Employment in rural areas: closing the jobs gap

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment in rural areas: closing the jobs gap


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Agriculture > General framework

Employment in rural areas: closing the jobs gap

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission of 21 December 2006 entitled “Employment in rural areas: closing the jobs gap” [COM(2006) 857 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


Europe’s rural areas face a common challenge: the creation of high-quality, sustainable jobs. In this area, the gap between urban and rural areas continues to widen. Although rural areas make up 93% of the territory of the European Union (EU), income per capita in these areas is little more than half that in urban areas. For this reason it is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain skilled individuals.

Several challenges have been identified for the future of rural employment:

  • the ageing of the farming population;
  • the participation of young people and women in the rural economy;
  • the enlargement of the EU;
  • producer support under the new CAP (revised in 2003) based on a reinforced rural development policy which focuses on jobs, growth and sustainability.

The Commission therefore proposes to close the jobs gap in rural areas by improving the adaptability of workers and enterprises and ensuring better education and skills.

An evolving demographic situation

Two processes of demographic change are currently taking place in Europe. The first is the migration of the rural population towards urban areas or accessible rural areas. The second is a “counter-urbanisation” flow out of urban areas into accessible rural areas. These areas are thus experiencing strong growth, at the expense of predominantly rural areas, which are slowly being depleted of population and economic activity.

Rural areas in the southern Member States are most affected by population ageing.

Low employment rates and a tertiary sector which is lagging behind

The employment rate is rising more quickly in urban areas (64.7% in 2004) than in rural areas (60.1%). However, certain rural areas close to towns have high rates of employment growth.

The tertiary sector tends to be dominated by the public sector in rural areas, and private services tend to be less developed than in urban areas.

Lack of skills and opportunities

Skills levels are lower in rural areas: some 15% of the population in rural areas has third-level education, while in urban areas this figure is 20%. Skilled individuals also tend to migrate to urban areas because of better job opportunities.

In some rural areas, the lack of training infrastructure and child-care facilities prevent entry or upskilling in the labour market. These deficiencies directly affect women and young people. Facing high levels of unemployment, the majority of them decide to leave the rural areas, which in turn creates difficulties for generational renewal.

The impact of CAP reform and rural development policies

In order to successfully adjust production structures in the Member States, it is essential to improve competitiveness and environmental sustainability and to boost jobs and growth. The problem is that many farmers still do not have the necessary skills in terms of innovation, diversification, bioenergy production, provision of environmental services and development of local services. For this reason it is imperative to promote research and development, vocational training, advisory services and innovation.

Evaluations indicate that on-farm investment, training, forestry measures, and measures promoting the development of rural areas have been effective in creating employment. Rural development policies have played an important role in preventing depopulation and land abandonment and in creating and maintaining jobs.

Through successive reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy over the past twenty years, labour outflows from the agricultural sector have been broadly constant at around 2-3% per year. The main determinants of labour adjustment in the farm sector are technological change, returns on capital and the relative remuneration of agricultural labour compared to other sectors. It is to be expected that some 2 million workers from the EU-15, 1 to 2 million workers from the ten new Member States and 1 to 2 million workers from Bulgaria and Romania will leave the sector by 2014. At the same time, without the introduction of direct aids to producers, many rural areas would have faced major economic, social and environmental problems.

Closing the jobs gap

Those rural areas which are most remote, depopulated or dependent on agriculture face many challenges: low levels of income, high unemployment rates, unfavourable demographic situations, a lack of skills, human capital and opportunities for women and young people, and slower development of the tertiary sector. It is imperative that rural areas in the EU exploit their potential to meet demand both in Europe and globally. If they do not, they will fall further behind urban areas.

Rural areas offer many opportunities in terms of tourism, living and working conditions and natural resources. The high quality of Europe’s agricultural produce also continues to be a major asset.

The Commission therefore recommends that:

  • the process of CAP reform should be maintained and consolidated;
  • Member States should encourage the cultivation of energy crops and the development of renewable energy enterprises;
  • the integration of the new Member States and the restructuring of their agriculture should remain a priority over the coming years;
  • the full range of Community instruments, and more specifically measures in the area of rural development, should be used to deliver the priorities of knowledge transfer, modernisation, innovation, quality in the food chain, job creation and growth.

The synergy between structural, employment and rural development policies must be maximised in order to ensure optimum job creation. For its part, the Commission will be responsible for assessing the effects of the policies on employment in rural areas, using statistical instruments.

Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement

Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Employment and social policy > Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement

Employment and social policy: international dimension and enlargement

Internationally, as on its own territory, the EU strives to ensure that economic development is accompanied by social progress. It has therefore made social issues a subject of its external relations, both in the context of fair and sustainable globalisation and with a view to future enlargements. At international level, it advocates compliance with core labour standards, which it considers an integral part of human rights. It also takes an active part in the defence of equal opportunities and non-discrimination, and promotes the establishment of a fair economic system. In the specific case of the process of accession to the EU, this approach is reflected in the obligation on candidate countries to adopt established Community law (the Community acquis).


  • Promoting decent work for all
  • Extending the benefits of the social dimension of globalisation to all
  • Social development in the context of globalisation
  • Strengthening of maritime labour standards
  • The link between the multilateral trading system and labour standards
  • World Summit for Social Development


  • Europe’s response to world ageing
  • Promotion and protection of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities at international level
  • Fourth United Nations Conference on Women


Ongoing enlargement

  • Croatia – Employment and Social Affairs
  • Turkey – Employment and social policy
  • The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – Employment and Social Policy
  • Iceland – Employment and social policy

Enlargement of January 2007

  • Bulgaria
  • Romania

Enlargement of May 2004: 10 new Member States

  • Cyprus
  • Hungary
  • Estonia
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Malta
  • Poland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia

Emissions from heavy duty vehicles : certification rules

Emissions from heavy duty vehicles : certification rules

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Emissions from heavy duty vehicles : certification rules


These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

Environment > Air pollution

Emissions from heavy duty vehicles (Euro VI): certification rules

Document or Iniciative

Regulation (EC) No 595/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 on type-approval of motor vehicles and engines with respect to emissions from heavy duty vehicles (Euro VI) and on access to vehicle repair and maintenance information and amending Regulation (EC) No 715/2007 and Directive 2007/46/EC and repealing Directives 80/1269/EEC, 2005/55/EC and 2005/78/EC (Text with EEA relevance).


This Regulation defines the legal framework for type-approval of motor vehicles, engines and replacement parts with respect to their emissions. It also establishes rules on:

  • in-service conformity of vehicles and engines;
  • durability of pollution control devices;
  • on-board diagnostic (OBD) systems and accessibility of information;
  • measurement of fuel consumption;
  • CO2 emissions.

This Regulation applies to motor vehicles of categories M1, M2, N1 and N2 (see Annex II of Directive 2007/46/EC).

Obligations of the manufacturers

Manufacturers must be able to demonstrate that all new vehicles, engines or spare parts sold, registered or put into service within the Community have been EC type-approved.

Manufacturers must also implement technical measures to guarantee effective limitation of tailpipe emissions.

This Regulation also establishes conditions for pollution control devices according to a mileage and life cycle specific to each vehicle category.

Requirements and tests

Manufacturers must equip their vehicles or engines with components that ensure compliance with the emission limits laid down in Annex I of this Regulation.

The European Commission lays down provisions to ensure compliance with emission limits – mainly measures concerning tailpipe emissions *, pollution control devices, reference fuels and the measurement of engine power.

Access to information

Vehicle manufacturers must guarantee independent operators * access to information on on-board diagnostic (OBD) * systems, and on diagnostic equipment, tools or software.

Manufacturers are also responsible for providing information on vehicle repairs and maintenance *. The final manufacturer shall be responsible for communicating information about the whole vehicle.

The information should be made available on the websites of manufacturers, or, if this is not feasible, in another appropriate format.


National authorities shall no longer grant Community or national type-approval for vehicles that do not comply with this Regulation as from 31 December 2012. They are also to prohibit the registration of new vehicles that do not comply with this Regulation as from 31 December 2013.

Financial incentives

Member States may grant financial incentives for the purchase of motor vehicles produced in series which comply with this Regulation until 31 December 2013. Retrofitting measures may also be considered either to adapt in-use motor vehicles or for scrapping.

The amount of the financial incentives shall be equal to the additional cost of the technical measures introduced to ensure compliance of the vehicle with emission limits.

This Regulation repeals Directives 80/1269/EEC, 2005/55/EC and 2005/78/EC with effect from 31 December 2013.


The Sixth Community Environment Action Programme highlights the need to reduce air pollution. This Regulation contributes to the Union’s objectives in terms of air quality by establishing a system which constrains the automobile industry to limit the vehicle emissions that it produces.

Key terms of the Act
  • Tailpipe emissions: emissions of gaseous and particulate pollutants;
  • On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) system: a system on board a vehicle or connected to an engine which has the capability of detecting malfunctions, and, if applicable, of indicating their occurrence by means of an alert system, of identifying the likely area of malfunction by means of information stored in computer memory, and of communicating that information off-board;
  • Vehicle repair and maintenance information: all information required for diagnosis, servicing, inspection, periodic monitoring, repair, re-programming or re-initialising or the remote diagnostic support of the vehicle and which the manufacturers provide for their authorised dealers and repairers, including all subsequent amendments and supplements to such information. This information includes all information required for fitting parts or equipment onto vehicles;
  • Independent operator: undertakings other than authorised dealers and repairers which are directly or indirectly involved in the repair and maintenance of motor vehicles, in particular repairers, manufacturers or distributors of repair equipment, tools or spare parts, publishers of technical information, automobile clubs, roadside assistance operators, operators offering inspection and testing services, operators offering training for installers, manufacturers and repairers of equipment for alternative fuel vehicles.


Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal

Regulation (EC) No 595/2009


OJ L 188 of 18.7.2009

This summary is for information only. It is not designed to interpret or replace the reference document, which remains the only binding legal text.