A law to revamp the European Employment Services (EURES) network with an EU-wide database of job seekers and vacancies was approved by Parliament on Thursday. The aim is to help fight unemployment by better matching labour market supply and demand. Updated rules, already agreed with the Council, will also pay more attention to cross-border regions and young people.
The smarter new EURES portal should automatically match CVs with suitable job offers. Also, all vacancies published by public job offices in member states will be available EU-wide on the web portal.
MEPs approved a compromise reached with member states’ representatives in talks late last year by 576 votes to 56, with 21 abstentions. Heinz K. Becker (EPP, AT) who steered the draft legislation through Parliament, said during the debate: "We see high levels of unemployment in some EU countries, yet at the same time there are two million unfilled jobs elsewhere due to a lack of skilled labour. The EURES platform, in the first stage of expansion, should facilitate access to hundreds of vacant jobs. (...) Never before have we seen such a user-friendly way to provide so much support, especially for young job seekers, who now have at their fingertips the possibility to make their CVs available to any employer around Europe."
Automated matching of vacancies and applications will be free of charge for workers; there should be no discrimination based on nationality as regards employment, pay and other working conditions and access for persons with disabilities will be ensured.
Parliament’s negotiators managed to broaden the network by also offering member status to private organisations if they provide support services to both workers and employers and inserted amendments to boost cross-border labour markets.
MEPs also inserted amendments to allow publicly-funded traineeships and apprenticeships to be exempted from cross-border publication obligations due to differences in education systems and member states' active labour market policies.
The regulation, as voted by Parliament, still needs to be formally approved by the Council of Ministers. It will enter into legal force after its publication in the EU Official Journal and member states will have two years to put it into effect.
Background for editors
The EURES EU-wide job database was set up in 1993 as a co-operation network between the European Commission and the public employment services of the EU member states (plus Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), and partners: private job agencies, trade unions, employers' associations.
Shortcomings that have since emerged include an incomplete pool of job vacancies and CVs; limited automated matching potential and insufficient cross-border information on labour. The number of employees working in other member states - not including frontier cross-border workers - is still only 7.5 million people or 3.1% of the active population.
Besides the internet portal, EURES also has a network of around 1,000 advisers across Europe.