The European employment strategy (EES) was introduced in 1992 by the Treaty of the European Union and since then has been the cornerstone of the EU’s employment policy. Its main aim is the creation of more and better jobs throughout the EU. It now constitutes part of the Europe 2020 growth strategy and it is implemented through the European semester, an annual process promoting close policy coordination among EU Member States and EU Institutions.
The main aim of the EES is to create a a number of other policy areas in support of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It identifies the EU’s biggest job potential areas and the most effective ways for EU countries to create more jobs. Measures are proposed in the following areas: Supporting Job Creation, Restoring the dynamics of labour markets and improving EU Governance. The lifelong learning program is part of the EES area called Restoring dynamics of labour markets and its reforming labour markets by encouraging lifelong learning and active labour market policies. A branch of this area aims to invest in skills in areas regarding lifelong learning in order to:
- coping with skills mismatches
- ensuring better recognition of skills and qualifications and anticipating skills needs
- improving synergy between the worlds of work and education
All these goals are intrinsically joined with the lifelong learning program and have the aim to boost the economy. The EU has also undertaken various practical measures in order to help the dramatic employment situation. One of those is the European Framework for key competences for lifelong learning, which defines the eight key competences that everyone should have to thrive in a knowledge society. Moreover many research programs such as the ESCO-Classification of European Skills/Competences, qualifications and Occupations that describe the most relevant skills, competences and qualifications of occupations. Not only this, but also the European Social Found and the Erasmus+ mobility program, thanks to which most students that post blogs on the Organizational and Institutional Change can study abroad for as long as 12 month with a scholarship.
Along with the lifelong learning program come terms such as flexibility, flexicurity and employability. Flexicurity is an integrated strategy for enhancing, at the same time, flexibility and security in the labour market. It attempts to reconcile employers’ need for a flexible workforce with workers’ need for security – confidence that they will not face long periods of unemployment.
Common principles of flexicurity
Working with national governments, social partners and academics the EU has identified a set of common flexicurity principles and is exploring how countries can implement them through four components:
- flexible and reliable contractual arrangements
- comprehensive lifelong learning strategies
- effective active labour market policies
- modern social security systems
To sum up, the EES is a very ambitious plan that aims to make Europe a fertile ground for economic and professional growth for employers as well as employees. However, it is important to mention that academics, above all Franc Coffield have critical faults to point out when it comes to the Strategy. It should not be merely perceived as a magic bullet that will solve all the economic problems the EU is facing.