Despite high unemployment in many parts of Europe, few Europeans look for work in another EU country. This is partly because of the difficulty of finding a job abroad. The European network of Employment Services (Eures) was launched in 1993 to help with this. On 25 February MEPs approved a proposal to strengthen the Eures network. Watch the video to find out what services Eures can offer.
Lack of labour mobility
Language barriers and the difficulty of finding a job abroad means relatively few people in Europe move to another member state for work. Every year only 0.29% of people do so in the EU (excluding Croatia), while in Australia 1.5% move between the eight states for a job and in the US 2.4% of workers cross state lines for employment, according to an OECD study published in March 2012. In total only 7.5 million out of 241 million European workers - about 3.1% - has a job in another EU country.
Eures was set up to facilitate the free movement of workers within the EU, Norway, Iceland, Lichtenstein and Switzerland. The network coordinated by the European Commission helps employers wanting to recruit workers from other countries.
Eures has a database containing 235,000 CVs as well as more than one million vacancies from about 6,000 employers.
Revamp of the network
The new legislation aims to make it easier to find work abroad by improving the Eures network, creating the largest possible pool of job vacancies and CVs in the EU and making it easier to match them. It also covers apprenticeships and traineeships and set out to facilitate the exchange of information between EU countries on labour shortages and surpluses. However, labour market policy, including all support measures, remain the responsibility of member states.
Austrian EPP member Heinz K. Becker, who is in charge of steering the plans through Parliament, said in our video interview before the vote: "We want to push hard to involve the private employment services. We want to involve the regional employment agencies. We want to include the social partners when they make job offers. We want to include NGOs when they do so."
MEPs approved the compromise that had already been reached with member states’ representatives in late 2015 by 576 votes to 56, with 21 abstentions. The regulation still needs to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers.