Wednesday

20th Feb 2019

EU employment summit short on results

  • A strike by metal workers in Brussels in December (Photo: EUobserver)

The European commission and ministers from the Czech, Swedish and Spanish governments agreed a loose set of proposals to boost employment on Thursday (7 May) but failed to come up with concrete measures to tackle Europe's worsening jobs crisis.

Speaking after a specially convened employment summit in Prague, commission president Jose Manuel Barroso defended the meeting's outcome saying several new ideas had been put forward that would be placed before EU leaders at the June European council.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The drive for greater "flexicurity" is a very recent agreement he said, a measure that seeks to give employers greater flexibility over worker contracts while at the same time providing better retraining opportunities and social support for those who lose their jobs.

"The world will not be the same after this crisis," he added. "There will be winners and losers and the question for Europe is which side do we want to be on."

As well as improving re-training opportunities, the meeting's final statement highlights the need to modernise social security networks and continue the fight against protectionism.

However ministers also re-iterated the potentially conflicting need to maintain sound public finances as European governments become increasingly concerned about the future implications of their spiralling debt.

Swedish prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose government will take over the EU's rotating six-month presidency in July, stressed the fact that 23 out of the EU's 27 member states now had excessive budget deficits.

"I think we will see now a turnover to more of a ‘reform' discussion and of course this will also be a focus during the Swedish presidency," he said.

Employer and trade union representatives who attended the summit refused to sign the final document, instead issuing their own list of priorities.

"There are some responses to the social agenda [in the final communiqué], but its not enough," the head of the European trade union confederation, John Monks, told EUobserver on the sidelines of the meeting.

A recent commission forecast predicts 8.5 million EU citizens will lose their job over the course of this and next year.

A question of looking?

One man who will lose his job shortly is Czech prime minister Mirek Topolanek whose government lost a parliamentary vote of no confidence in March.

Asked how he felt about this Mr Topolanek suggested anyone could find a new job if they looked hard enough.

"I'm going to lose my post as prime minister but I'm not going to be out of a job. If you look for work you will find it and I think the same applies for everybody."

He added that it was up to business to create new jobs and in particular small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

Mr Topolanek's views are not shared by everyone.

Conny Reuter, the president of Social Platform representing around 40 European social sector NGOs told this website that Mr Topolanek's comments were "unacceptable".

"There are a lot of people who lose their job who don't have the prospect to find another," he says. "I think the citizens will feel this is some kind of provocation."

"This is certainly not a contribution to show that the European Union can bring solutions and policy orientations in the time of crisis."

He added that the summit clearly could not be considered a success, firstly because of the successive downgrades in importance of the people attending, and secondly because the question of greater social inclusion had not been addressed.

It was originally intended that all 27 EU leaders would attend the summit but the format was changed in March at the leaders' request.

EU to propose scrapping summer time change

Based on the preliminary results of an online survey in which mostly Germans took part, the EU executive is proposing that the whole EU stops changing times in March and October.

Investigation

How to get around the EU posted workers directive

Some EU careworkers in Belgium receive around €400 a month - despite their carers paying €2,500 a month and paying for flights and accommodation. The answer lies in how firms can skirt the safeguards in the EU's posted workers directive.

Feature

Resetting the gender balance through football

Many sports, like football, have been so heavily male-dominated at every level that women and girls have battled against poor odds to be treated as equals in the game. FIFA aims to change that.

News in Brief

  1. Estonia kicks out Danske Bank over money laundering scandal
  2. May and Juncker meet over Brexit on Wednesday
  3. EU promises to open up advisory groups
  4. EU agrees to limit CO2 emissions by trucks
  5. Juncker under attack in Hungary government ad
  6. EU would not oppose extending Brexit talks, Juncker said
  7. Juncker expects Trump not to impose new car tariffs
  8. Former EU official sentenced for office rape

Stakeholder

A touch of football at this year's G20 summit

FIFA president Gianni Infantino addressed the G20 leaders and placed football at their disposal as a powerful tool to help them address the challenges facing the world today.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties
  2. EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news
  3. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  4. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat
  5. Italian populists could be second biggest force in EU parliament
  6. Merkel defends Russia ties, ridicules Trump on cars
  7. British MPs condemn Facebook CEO's misrule
  8. EU's chance to step up on Hungary and Poland

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersTheresa May: “We will not be turning our backs on the Nordic region”
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  3. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs
  9. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  10. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  12. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us