Calls to strengthen employ­ment and social poli­cies in the euro area

Par­lia­ment awaits Com­mis­sion action.

On 10 Octo­ber 2019, Members of the European Parliament (MEP) approved a report by Yana Toom (Renew Europe, EE) on employ­ment and social pol­icy of the euro area, in the pres­ence of then Com­mis­sioner Mar­i­anne Thyssen. It was Thyssen’s last appear­ance as Com­mis­sioner in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. She used this oppor­tu­nity to thank the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment for their con­struc­tive work and expressed her hope that the road to a social Europe would con­tinue.

The report (see also this previous arti­cle) states that labour mar­ket con­di­tions in the euro area have improved and that the employ­ment rate has reached a new record high of 240.7 mil­lion peo­ple in work. How­ever, employ­ment rates con­tinue to vary widely between Mem­ber States, regions and pop­u­la­tion groups, which calls for more work to be done at Euro­pean level.

Introduction of a European minimum wage

MEPs con­sider qual­ity employ­ment to be an impor­tant fac­tor in the fight against poverty and social exclu­sion, which threat­ens one in five Euro­peans. Mem­ber States are being called upon to take action to ensure that all peo­ple can afford a decent life. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has been asked to put for­ward a legal instru­ment to ensure that all work­ers receive an ade­quate min­i­mum wage.

Calls for European unemployment benefit reinsurance

Despite favourable devel­op­ments in the labour mar­ket and the econ­omy, real wage growth remains below expected lev­els. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is called upon to pre­sent a pro­posal for a Euro­pean unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fit rein­sur­ance sys­tem in order to pro­tect cit­i­zens and reduce pres­sure on pub­lic finances in the event of eco­nomic shocks. A new finan­cial instru­ment to com­bat long-term unem­ploy­ment needs to be devel­oped to pro­vide finan­cial sup­port for ini­tia­tives and pro­jects in regions with above-aver­age long-term unem­ploy­ment.

Implementation of country-specific recommendations

Almost one third of the coun­try-spe­cific rec­om­men­da­tions have not been imple­mented by the Mem­ber States. The Com­mis­sion is there­fore urged to put pres­sure on Mem­ber States, irre­spec­tive of their euro area mem­ber­ship, to imple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions. Imple­ment­ing for­ward-look­ing reforms is cru­cial to strength­en­ing the growth poten­tial of the EU econ­omy, pro­mot­ing social inclu­sion and improv­ing the social rights and well-being of all peo­ple in the Union.

Economic and social policy in unison

Finally, MEPs in the ple­nary debate believe that the reg­u­la­tory frame­work for the labour mar­ket in the Mem­ber States must be sim­ple and flex­i­ble in order to main­tain and con­stantly improve global com­pet­i­tive­ness. We eagerly await the next steps of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion.

>> Read the full European Parliament report here.