The first annual review of Employment and Social Developments in Europe (ESDE)
published by the European Commission underlines that a mix of employment and
social policies is necessary to ensure a long-term job-rich recovery in the
current climate of fiscal consolidation and bleak economic outlook.
Its findings show how the economic crisis has aggravated Europe's structural
weaknesses like income inequality and the disappearance of medium-paid jobs,
especially in manufacturing and construction. Poverty remains high with 115
million Europeans (23 % of the EU population) at risk of poverty or social
exclusion in 2010.
The review shows in particular that, while inequality has decreased or grown
only slightly in historically more unequal countries (like Italy or Greece), it
has increased in many traditionally egalitarian Member States, such as Nordic
countries and the general trend remains upwards. Raising participation in
employment, better social spending and fairer taxation of top incomes and
wealth can contribute to mitigating inequalities.
In terms of poverty, the review stresses that while Eastern Europeans are more
often facing severe material deprivation, in the Northern and Western Member
States, exclusion from the labour market prevails. Elderly, lone parents and
low-work intensity households are at particular risk of poverty and social
exclusion. Over 8 % of people with a job are at risk of poverty - so called
Improving the employability of older workers and encouraging active ageing are
set out as essential for reaching the EU employment rate target of 75 % by
2020. Active ageing policies will help to discourage early retirement,
stimulate lifelong learning, adapt working conditions to the needs of older
workers and provide care for the elderly.
Workers' mobility is also highlighted as an important way to address
unemployment and imbalances across labour markets. Figures show how for most
receiving countries, no significant impact on local unemployment or wages has
been found, while the risks of brain drain for countries of origin seem limited
overall. Experience is showing that free movement brings benefits to both
individuals as well as receiving countries and contributes to reducing
AplusA-online.de - Source: European Agency for Safety and Health at Work