Thursday

20th Jan 2022

EU misses goal on getting more people into work

  • In Malta, Italy, Greece and Poland, less than half of women aged 15-64 had a job (Photo: European Commission)

The EU has failed to meet a key target set in 2001 to increase the number of people with jobs in order to meet the challenge of an ageing society, new Eurostat figures have revealed.

EU leaders meeting in Stockholm in 2001 agreed that in 2005, at least 67 percent of people in the union aged 15-64 should be employed in order to finance rising pension and social costs due to an ageing population.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

But figures released by Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, revealed on Monday (11 September) that only 63.8 percent of EU citizens in that age group had a job in 2005.

The goal set by heads of state and government in 2001 was agreed as an interim target as part of the EU's so-called Lisbon strategy, designed to make the bloc more competitive by 2010.

In 2010, the EU's employment rate should hit 70 percent – but this "Lisbon" goal now appears likely to be missed as well, with the rate growing only very slowly.

EU leaders in 2001 formulated their goal before the bloc's 2004 enlargement – but also even if the ten new member states are left out of the picture for 2005, the union's targets would be missed.

The euro area, which in 2005 did not include any new member states, recorded an employment rate of 63.5 percent – even worse than the average in the EU-25.

Good performers in 2005 were Denmark (75.9%), the Netherlands (73.2%), Sweden (72.5%) and the United Kingdom (71.7%).

At the other end of the scale, Poland (52.8%), Malta (53.9%), Hungary (56.9%), Italy (57.6%) and Greece (61.1%) did particularly badly.

Disparities between member states are even larger when looking at the number of women with a job – for whom the EU had formulated a separate employment rate target of 57 percent in 2005.

Denmark, Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands and the UK easily exceeded this goal - all reporting rates above 65 percent – but in Malta, Italy, Greece and Poland, less than half of women between 15 and 64 years of age had a job.

Mayor breaks language divide in mixed Romanian city

The Romanian city of Sfântu Gheoghe plans to bridge the language gap between Hungarian and Romanian speakers by pioneering a programme to incentivise learning each other's languages.

MEPs call for workers to have 'right to disconnect'

MEPs called for a new law guaranteeing workers can 'disconnect' outside work hours, without repercussion. But they also passed a last-minute amendment, calling on the commission to delay any legislation for three years.

EU rolls out vaccine, as UK-variant spreads

Most EU member states began rolling out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 on Sunday, as a more contagious variant from the UK begins to spread on the continent.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs call for full-scale election observers in Hungary
  2. Nato membership 'very unlikely' on her watch: Finland's PM
  3. Germany investigates Green leaders' Covid-bonuns
  4. Officials surprised by Macron's call for seperate EU-Russia talks
  5. Commission to withhold EU funds from Poland in mine row
  6. 'Patriotic millionaires' call for wealth tax at virtual Davos
  7. Borders must not be moved by force, Scholz warns
  8. MEPs demand public consultation on gas and nuclear

Opinion

Sweden's non-lockdown didn't work - why not?

The Swedish king would have been better advised to use his annual Christmas interview to call for unity of purpose and shed light on the political roots of the country's response.

Column

BioNTech: Stop talking about their 'migration background'

I understand that the German-Turkish community - often subjected to condescension in Germany - celebrated the story. Uğur Şahin and Özlem Türecki represent scientific excellence and business success at the highest level.

Latest News

  1. Macron promises strong EU borders
  2. MEPs to crackdown on digital 'Wild West'
  3. Macron calls for new security order and talks with Russia
  4. Macron's vision will hit EU Council veto buffers
  5. Hydrogen - the 'no-lose bet' for fossil-fuel industry?
  6. Tomorrow MEPs can end EU animal export horror show
  7. An EU-Africa 'equal partnership' must tackle past and present
  8. Metsola becomes youngest EU Parliament president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us