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Procedure : 2010/0115(NLE)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : A7-0235/2010

Texts tabled :

A7-0235/2010

Debates :

PV 07/09/2010 - 13
CRE 07/09/2010 - 13

Votes :

PV 08/09/2010 - 6.2
CRE 08/09/2010 - 6.2
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P7_TA(2010)0309

Debates
Tuesday, 7 September 2010 - Strasbourg OJ edition

13. Guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States (debate)
Video of the speeches
PV
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  President. The next item is the report by Csaba Őry, on behalf of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States [COM(2010)0193 - C7-0111/2010 - 2010/0115(NLE)] (A7-0235/2010).

 
  
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  Csaba Őry, rapporteur. (HU) Thank you for the floor, Madam President. I will therefore try to be brief. It would, indeed, be good if we could wrap up the debate quickly. This debate was off to a relatively difficult start, since this is not just a normal consultation process, given that the Commission and the Council, and we here in Parliament as well, consider the current drafting of the employment directives to be part of a joint reflection, of our joint reflection on the 2020 strategy.

Ultimately, it seems that the time available to us enriched the debate, although I must say that we had found, right at the outset, a number of useful and good recommendations in the Commission’s proposal. Nevertheless, we have made changes on a few points.

First of all, I would like to draw your attention to a structural change. It seems to us that, although both schooling and training are important, we do not see the need for this to be stated in two different directives, especially since we have reduced the 24 earlier employment directives to a total of four. It is for this reason that we combined these two areas, although we introduced a new element.

We would like to emphasise the importance of the cohesion policy as an instrument serving employment and its environment, since if we are making decisions about developments and launching initiatives in the European Union aimed at reducing the gaps between Member States, these will bring closer together countries that are far from each other in many respects. These policies must be linked together from the perspective of employment. We support developments that also contribute to job creation, since we are all agreed that the first priority is to create new jobs.

This is justified, in particular, by the economic crisis, which I believe, despite encouraging signs, is not yet completely over. We are even less clear as to what this actually means for employment. Between 2008 and 2010, the number of unemployed people may have risen from 16 million to 23 million, which is an enormous number, but unfortunately, I must say that the situation of young people is even worse, since among them, the number of unemployed has increased to around 20.5%. I think that these figures suggest an ailment; they suggest problems which must open our eyes to the task facing us. In my view, we can support a good number of the recommendations contained in the Council’s and the Commission’s proposals. We can support the goal of a 75% employment rate, that is, the employment of 75% of citizens of working age, although we would like this figure to be higher among young people. Among those between the ages of 15 and 24 who are either studying or working, this proportion should be at least 90%. There should be no loitering youths. Similarly, where poverty is concerned, we would like to give special attention to addressing child poverty as a key element, and although I do not want to repeat here the entire set of guidelines or guideline 10 in full, I am delighted that both the Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies are treating this as a priority. I hope, therefore, that the Council will also resolve to give particular emphasis to this topic.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, honourable Members, I would like to thank first of all the rapporteur, Mr Őry, for his report and his constructive approach to the Commission proposal on the employment guidelines and I very much agree with him on the need to put these new employment guidelines into the context of the crisis.

It is just two years ago since the fall of Lehman Brothers and 2008 was an annus horribilis in the financial sector; 2009 was an annus horribilis for the economy with an unprecedented recession; and 2010 is an annus horribilis for employment in Europe, with an average unemployment rate of 10% and 20% among young people. We really have to take these matters seriously, and that is why I very much appreciate the way in which we have been working with Parliament in the recent months – in the spring period in particular – on both the guidelines and the EU 2020 strategy.

The Commission has followed the work on this report very closely. The debate has been extensive and fruitful. The debate has also shown that priorities have to be made and compromises have to be struck. I welcome the excellent cooperation between the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the Commission over the last four months. As I have stressed on several occasions, it is of vital importance for the Commission to have all the main EU institutions on board and, in particular, the European Parliament, in order to establish the necessary political ownership of the new Europe 2020 strategy and to ensure that Europe 2020 becomes a success.

I can assure you that the Commission will be keen to involve Parliament as closely as possible in the implementation of the strategy in the coming years. I am pleased to note that a large part of the proposals and amendments put forward in the draft report have been introduced by the Council and are included in the text which was given political endorsement by the European Council in June. There are a number of outstanding points which will have to be discussed with the Council.

The Commission would not be in favour of the amendments which aim to alter the structure of the guidelines by adding new guidelines. This would undermine the clarity and the coherence of the Commission’s proposal. The Commission is also against the idea of adding more headline targets to the five already agreed at political level. For the Commission, the fundamental principle in designing the new strategy has been to limit the number of targets and objectives in order to better focus the new strategy.

This being so, the Commission agrees that some issues may need further strengthening in the text, for example, in relation to childcare, decent work or SMEs. The Commission is ready to work with Parliament and with the Council in order to find a mutually suitable compromise text.

 
  
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  Eva-Britt Svensson, rapporteur for the opinion of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.(SV) Madam President, it is no exaggeration to say that the Lisbon strategy failed. We therefore need to learn from our mistakes and not repeat them in the new strategy. Some of the major mistakes in the strategy were not to prioritise equality in the workplace, not to give women the opportunity and conditions necessary to be able to participate fully in the labour market, and not to prioritise efforts to eliminate the wage differences between men and women.

We need to increase the participation of women in the labour market and, in so doing, also increase the participation of men in the care of children and related tasks. Therefore, please support the improvements to this strategy that the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality has proposed. In addition, please remove the wording stating that public sector wages should be cut. The public sector is already where many of our low-paid women are to be found today. Please do not increase the wage differences further.

 
  
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  Pascale Gruny, on behalf of the PPE Group.(FR) Madam President, we need long-term legislation to improve employment in Europe and reduce poverty. We need to address the problem of unemployment with a view to sustainable growth. I should like to make three points.

First of all, the Council proposes that the guidelines for employment policies in the Member States be established every 10 years. I agree, because we need a long-term perspective, but then we also need real milestones every three years to ensure that we do not lose sight of developments on the labour market.

Secondly, I tabled an amendment, which was not adopted, in which I proposed that an employment observatory be established to conduct a specific analysis of future jobs. Many young people leave school or university without any training that meets the needs of the labour market. We need to anticipate future jobs. Our young people should be able to move forward and specialise by completing training which will ensure that they keep up with the employment market.

Finally, the fight against unemployment not only entails doing everything to improve the employment situation in Europe, but also in combating poverty. The professional integration of people who have been out of work for a long time is vital in the fight against poverty. The European Social Fund is the instrument which can help bring these people back to the labour market. Let us start by giving these people their dignity back, by giving them jobs, and let us avoid helping them with no prospect of social integration. I would stress this point.

 
  
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  Jutta Steinruck, on behalf of the S&D Group.(DE) Madam President, I would like to begin my speech with a criticism of the procedure. Parliament’s work has been greatly impaired by the late tabling of this report. It was only really able to present its position because exceptions were made and the Council is not now going to debate this matter until the autumn summit.

In the end, a workable compromise was found. The cooperation between the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs was excellent. That can also be seen by the fact that we received a clear majority for our position in committee. As Social Democrats, we were able to include very many of our key concerns, although we are not happy with every point. However, I am grateful for the assurance from the Belgian Presidency that it will support Parliament’s position.

In order to facilitate this procedure, we have tabled four amendments, for which we request support in tomorrow’s vote. It was important to us that the guidelines for employment policies contain social components, in other words, a definition of good work, the stipulation that good work must also be well paid, and that testable interim goals are also laid down. However, the guidelines will only be taken seriously in the Member States if the Commission and the Council take them seriously. We therefore ask the Commission to ensure that appropriate measures are implemented and that the results are also examined.

I am pleased that the Commissioner has assured us that our positions will be included, because Parliament has added a very socially-orientated and worker-friendly component which will benefit the people of Europe. That is also what people expect of this Parliament and this represents an improvement in social conditions.

 
  
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  Siiri Oviir, on behalf of the ALDE Group.(ET) Madam President, Commissioner, ladies and gentlemen, we are discussing employment guidelines in the midst of the economic crisis. Undoubtedly, this will strongly influence the labour market for a number of years. It is important to agree on an effective strategy at European Union level which would really help to resolve the problems. It was not possible to achieve the objectives set out in the Lisbon strategy, mainly because of problems related to their implementation, not because the objectives were wrong.

The success of the new strategy depends, to a large extent, on whether we can learn from previous mistakes. Creating jobs and increasing employment must remain at the heart of the new strategy. It is therefore a priority to create high quality jobs which are necessary in a longer-term perspective and which will create high added value. Employment policy must guarantee that changeovers are as smooth as possible for employees, both between economic sectors and between different statuses of the labour market. For this reason, it is necessary to extend the long-term objectives further and to concentrate more on coordinated action in business, education and employment policy.

The fight against poverty and exclusion is particularly relevant today. Therefore, we should create opportunities for participating in the labour market, or for returning to it, for all groups in society, regardless of their age and gender, paying particular attention to all those groups which are in need.

As the shadow rapporteur for the Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, I am pleased that, in cooperation with Members of Parliament, we have also now found in the report an indication that equal gender rights will be ensured. Finally, in adopting the report, we expect the Commission and the Member States to adopt the relevant legal framework in a timely manner, and not only do we expect this, but we also expect close cooperation between the Commission and Parliament, as well as between the Member States themselves. Otherwise, the European Union’s talk of a single market will only be partly true, to say the least. I would also like to thank Mr Őry for his efforts and his high level of cooperation.

 
  
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  Emilie Turunen, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group.(DA) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, Mr Őry, a lot has been said about the content and process in connection with these employment guidelines. There is no doubt that this Parliament significantly improved the guidelines during its work on the tabled draft. I would like to highlight two points today on behalf of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. The first is that we have succeeded in securing support for an ambitious employment initiative for particularly vulnerable groups, including young people. Parliament is calling for youth unemployment to be cut by half, in other words, that no more than 10% of young people between the ages of 15 and 25 should be unemployed, as opposed to the current figure of more than 20%. It is an ambitious goal, but a necessary one if we are to safeguard a workforce for the future and to ensure prosperity and social cohesion.


Secondly, the majority in this Parliament are calling for greater commitment to a social Europe. Specifically, this means that we should not simply fight poverty by means of increased employment, but that, in guideline 10, we require the work to be of decent quality and provide a living wage. Equal access to prosperity and social services is another key requirement. In this Parliament today, we are sending out a clear message that we will fight to eliminate the concept of the ‘working poor’ and that we refuse to allow Europe to have an American-style labour market. These two aspects, youth employment and social guidelines, are two significant improvements that I do not think the Council or the Commission can ignore.

 
  
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  Milan Cabrnoch, on behalf of the ECR Group.(CS) Ladies and gentlemen, the unemployment situation in European Union Member States is critical. Unemployment is at its highest since the introduction of the euro in 1999, standing at 10.1%. More than 23 million people are without work, 16 million of whom are in the euro area. All of us here probably agree on the urgency of the need to find a solution to the problem, but the submitted report offers no way out of the crisis. We do not believe that implementing the right to full employment can be a solution in itself. We are setting artificial targets, even though we do not know how to achieve them. Why have administrative prescriptions in terms of percentage participation on the labour market, the increased employment of women or young people and reductions in the proportion of students quitting their studies early, when we do not know who will measure and compare the achievement of these targets or how. We take the view that achieving a deep and efficient single market is a key instrument for ensuring the EU’s overall macro-economic performance, and a flexible labour market is the best way to create new jobs.

 
  
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  Thomas Händel, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group.(DE) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the Commission’s proposal for integrated guidelines for more and better jobs has been significantly improved by the work of Parliament.

Despite a number of improvements, we are still a long way from achieving our goals. We do not deny the fact that improvements have been made with regard to the equality of men and women, but it would have been better to integrate a separate guideline into this set of guidelines. We will request this very forcefully in plenary tomorrow.

Secondly, it is important that the evaluation of the results and the reporting obligations are firmly established within Parliament’s sphere of competence and that there are now more exacting objectives and sub-goals with regard to labour market participation and active labour market policy in the report. However, it would be important for Parliament to confirm tomorrow that the ILO principles relating to good and decent work as well as the question of a minimum income that is clearly above the poverty line are taken into consideration in the report.

I am, however, of the opinion that this report still has a number of shortcomings. It is far too reminiscent of the old Lisbon strategy. The failed flexicurity principles have been repeated like a mantra and much of the wording smacks of the old deregulation policy.

Secondly, if principles such as the compatibility of work and family life, social cohesion, sustainable economic management, investments and education are mentioned but there are no specific measures to follow this, it represents a weakness in the report. For more and better employment, it would be necessary to place the focus on reducing the precariousness of the current situation and to emphasise the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work in the same place’, to make the model of full-time employment the central focus once again, to limit the maximum working week and consider reducing working hours and, above all, with regard to cohesion, to incorporate social progress as a mandatory element and not permit any backward steps.

 
  
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  Mara Bizzotto, on behalf of the EFD Group.(IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, inertia and short-sightedness: this is my diagnosis of the disease that is affecting the EU-27 today.

Inertia, because even though one in four young people in Italy is unemployed and there are 16 million people out of work in the euro area, it still has not taken any truly effective action to follow up the rumblings of European propaganda in recent months.

Short-sightedness, because Europe has not only come up with the same old formula for emerging from the crisis, but has completely lost sight of the more authentically regional dimension of economic and social cohesion policy. Only by placing the regions at the centre of political action, only by respecting their specific cultural aims, will it be possible to revive European development and employment policies, fuelled by the natural energies exerted by each geographical area: districts, small and medium-sized enterprises and crafts.

To resolve the employment problem, we must think small in the beginning, invest in local authorities and prioritise subsidiarity, safeguarding a heritage made up of linguistic and cultural diversity.

If the needle of the European compass does not steer European policies towards the regions, the European project is bound to founder.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr (NI).(DE) Madam President, on 2 September, an Austrian newspaper wrote that ‘trainees lack education’. Unfortunately, that is true. There are now more trainee positions available than there are suitable candidates to fill them and 30% of our commercial undertakings are not able to fill their apprenticeship positions. Undertakings are complaining more and more about the poor education of school leavers. One in five companies takes care of the general education of its trainees itself.

However, as a measure to counter this situation, Europe wants to import well-trained skilled workers from third countries. That is the miracle cure: more immigration, because our young people no longer receive an adequate education in school. This is surely unacceptable, because it would be as good as a declaration of the bankruptcy of our education system, a declaration of the bankruptcy of Europe. We therefore urgently need a change of course in the training sector. Without good qualifications, there is no access to the labour market, for this is about our young people and, ultimately, also the future of Europe.

 
  
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  Veronica Lope Fontagné (PPE).(ES) Madam President, Europe needs a strategy that will enable it to emerge stronger from the economic and financial crisis and tackle the long-term challenges that it has to face, such as, for example, the ageing population.

In the strategy for the next decade, the Europe 2020 strategy, employment policy has to play a very important role. Its objectives must be sustainable growth, job creation and seeking greater social cohesion, and combating poverty is a new priority for the Union to which my group is committed.

The strategy demonstrates the need to undertake structural reforms in order to improve the way that labour markets operate, while also improving competitiveness and productivity. We would not be consistent if we only thought about job creation in the future and allowed existing jobs to be destroyed, as is occurring in some sectors such as the coal sector at the moment, where a large number of jobs could be lost across Europe. Mining needs to be maintained as a strategic reserve and to complement renewable energy sources.

If you will allow me, I will talk about my country, Spain, and my region, Aragon. For one of the provinces, Teruel – where the population density is around 12 inhabitants per square metre – the loss of around 5 000 jobs would mean the desertification of a whole area of land. We therefore need to focus, on the one hand, on consolidating and maintaining the jobs that we have at the moment and, on the other, on undertaking the reforms set out in this report.

 
  
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  Alejandro Cercas (S&D).(ES) Madam President, this debate is very important to the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament because it is very important to give hope to the millions of Europeans who have lost their jobs, who fear losing their jobs or who want to work and have still not found an opening in our labour market.

It is important that we place employment at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy and, to some extent, we are saying that it is not enough to correct the economic imbalances. Rather, we need to incorporate a social dimension into our strategy, because the economy alone with no soul will not provide a response to economic problems.

It is also important that we set ourselves targets, because although it is true that by setting targets we may not achieve our goal, if we do not know where we are going, we will definitely never reach our goal. I therefore thank Mr Őry for building a majority around these principles. I also thank Commissioner Andor and the Spanish and Belgian Presidencies for allowing Parliament to be heard according to Article 148 of the treaty, not only because that is good for Parliament as a body, but also because it connects the European public and, in future, the national parliaments, with the common task that is incumbent upon everyone.

Now you need to listen to us, and not only listen to us but implement all of our recommendations. It does not matter how you implement them, but for the first time, you must incorporate the work of Parliament, which will be very positive for the Commission, the Council, Parliament and, above all, for the European public.

 
  
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  Marije Cornelissen (Verts/ALE). – Madam President, a large group of people in this Parliament have worked extremely hard on this report. We have compromised and broadly agreed on five priorities to improve the Commission text: better governance, good work and equal pay for equal work, sub-targets for vulnerable groups, gender equality and cohesion policy.

All our hard work will have been in vain, though, if the Council decides to simply disregard it. They can if they choose to.

Mr Chastel, I would like to ask you whether you will do your very best for our priorities. Also, I would like to know whether it is true that our priorities stand a better chance of being adopted in the recitals, as Mrs Milquet has indicated. This is vital to know for our vote tomorrow.

Of my colleagues, I want to ask that we all stick to our compromises. We are no match for Council if we stand divided. The Greens will certainly stand by our commitment, and we count on all of you to do the same.

 
  
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  Jacek Olgierd Kurski (ECR).(PL) The single market and the free movement of workers are among the greatest benefits of European integration. The guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States under the Europe 2020 strategy are the subject of our discussion while we are still feeling the effects of the crisis which has hit European economies and labour markets. This is why the fight against unemployment should become a priority for EU policy, and funds for this must be found in the common budget. From this point of view, it is essential that there be close cooperation at EU level and a balance in the current objectives resulting from the crisis and in objectives of a more strategic nature. For Europe is faced by long-term challenges, such as demographic change and globalisation. Both at European level and in the Member States, we must ensure that we have the potential for the creation of new jobs and that we help people to integrate into the labour market. These priorities cannot, however, be pursued at the cost of an increased administrative burden and more legal regulations. We must take care over the cohesion of measures taken by the Member States in such areas as the economy, employment and social affairs. However, guidelines and common objectives at EU level must not, under any circumstances, undermine the competences of Member States.

 
  
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  Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL).(PT) Words, however interesting, are not enough to alter the tragic social situation being experienced in various countries of the European Union. A break is needed with the current economic and financial policies: an end needs to be brought to the Stability and Growth Pact, with its irrational criteria that truly strangle countries in economic and financial difficulties; regrettably, that is not happening here.


While there is continued insistence on reform plans that fit with the Stability and Growth Pact and flexicurity, we will not escape the austerity plans that some countries are implementing, such as Greece, Portugal and Spain. Such plans will have tragic consequences, increasing unemployment, poverty, social inequality and the well-known protests of the workers.

We therefore insist on proposals that will change the existing macro-economic policies, by suspending the Stability and Growth Pact; by bringing an end to privatisation and liberalisation processes; by prioritising quality employment with rights and living wages, and without discrimination of women; and by promoting the dignity of labour through a pact that truly fosters employment and social progress.

 
  
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  Derek Roland Clark (EFD). – Madam President, the only guideline is for the EU to stop interfering. The Working Time Directive is a disincentive to work. Why cannot you let people work overtime when they want to? Please do not tell me that this is to protect workers from exploitation, when the EU’s puppet court, the ECJ, has ruled in favour of companies exploiting groups of workers by paying them less than a minimum wage in no less than four countries.

Are you aware that more than a fifth of newly qualified junior doctors in the UK are turned down because the WTD means they lack experience and that more are dropping out of training for the same reason?

This House passed a report on independent truck drivers recently which will result in many of them packing it in. In voting today, MEPs have approved a paragraph in the Bové report – which will add a massive reporting burden to SMEs – hours after President Barroso had complained that SMEs were being strangled by red tape.

The EU is the problem, not the answer, as the people of Europe are beginning to realise.

 
  
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  Edit Bauer (PPE). (HU) Thank you very much, Madam President. I would like to thank the rapporteur for his efforts to reinforce the links between the 2020 strategy and employment policy guidelines. I believe this is extremely important. I would like to address two issues briefly. The first is increasing the employment rate among women to 75%. Although it seems that 75% is not too far from 60%, in practical terms, this would increase women’s employment by a quarter. I would like to say in this respect that unless we lay down the foundations for this policy in the public service sector, it will probably be impossible to achieve this goal.

The other matter I would like to emphasise here, which the rapporteur has also stressed, is child poverty. I believe that in spite of the fact that the Council designated this a priority years ago, not much has actually happened, and if we do not monitor this issue closely, if we cannot persuade Member States to address this seriously and to set and achieve serious goals in this regard, we are wasting our own future. We must not treat our own human resources with such negligence.

 
  
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  Pervenche Berès (S&D).(FR) Madam President, Commissioner, as you know, this debate is a vital debate for the European Parliament.

It is the specific tool at our disposal to say how the EU 2020 strategy needs to be implemented. Given the vague debates that we have had on this strategy, defining these employment guidelines is, for us, absolutely vital; that is why we were so insistent that they should not be adopted by the Council before this debate and before tomorrow’s vote. That is already a very important point for us.

Obviously, however, beyond this timetabling arrangement, we should also like to be heard on the substance of the issue. From contacts which we have had with the Belgian Presidency, we have cause to hope that, when faced with what appear to be useful proposals, such as the added value which the European Parliament’s position may bring, the Council will not deprive itself of this added value and will agree to review the text that it adopted in order to integrate these valid proposals.

Having discussed this with the Belgian Presidency, all the groups involved in the exchange agreed that we need to adopt, in the form of recitals, elements included in the body of our text and, from this point of view, there is broad agreement between us to do so. That is why I hope that the four amendments tabled along these lines will be adopted tomorrow.

The first – and the one on which there will, I imagine, no doubt be the greatest consensus between us – is that, in order for these employment guidelines to be useful, they must be subject to what is the order of the day: good governance. In this instance, good governance means that national and European parliamentarians and the social partners must be consulted at all stages during the drafting and implementation of these guidelines.

As regards the substance, there are two amendments which, politically, are vital as far as I am concerned. They have to do with reiterating what we mean by decent work. How can the European Union vote on all these conventions without itself applying these notions of decent work and implementing these guidelines which will, at long last, address the situation of the most vulnerable people, be they young people and their level of education or disadvantaged populations, in order to combat poverty?

These are the proposals we have made to you and I trust that you will support these amendments if, as I hope, they are passed by a majority in this House tomorrow.

 
  
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  Timo Soini (EFD). (FI) Madam President, costs cannot be allowed to increase in the Member States as a result of government or EU measures. There are no green taxes, there are no blue taxes, there are no red taxes: there are only taxes, which the people pay.

A rise in costs is lethal for employment. Each rise in costs eats up jobs. The European Union and the European Central Bank have no independent policy on interest rates at present. This makes it difficult for the Member States to manage their finances, as they are unable to practise a financial policy.

Despite these regrettable factors, we still need policy on growth and employment. Both Finnish and European labour succeeds with individual products and the quality of those products.

The rules on competitive bidding must be fair, honest and transparent. It is crucial for us to have work in Finland done by Finnish labour, and that is the case in every other Member State. National labour for export and for one’s own country: that is the recipe for success.

 
  
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  Ria Oomen-Ruijten (PPE). (NL) Madam President, rapporteur, ladies and gentlemen, I should like to start by thanking the rapporteur and also congratulating him on the report before us now. We now have specific objectives at long last, and we must seek to meet these in the next few years. The problems we face are not easy ones to solve. Every effort must be made towards a sustainable recovery. In addition, we must take account of demographic change. In order to emerge stronger from the crisis and achieve sound European labour markets, we need to take up new challenges. I believe our attention to education is of paramount importance, therefore, as this is the only way of increasing opportunities for all.

Madam President, the emphasis being placed on reducing poverty, particularly child poverty, is also very important. In this report, we in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs have drawn up specific recommendations and reached a good consensus on these, and I consider this very important, not least because we shall have to evaluate each other on the basis of these recommendations. This means not only setting to work at European level but also that the governments in the Member States must join with the social partners to work on these objectives.

An idea I had a very long time ago was that we should avert a situation in which young people are unable to find a position when entering the labour market. This is simply unacceptable. One good aspect of the present report is that it advocates that every young person not at school be provided with a place in training or further education, or an alternative, within four months.

 
  
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  Olle Ludvigsson (S&D).(SV) Madam President, I would like to highlight a few aspects that are particularly important to emphasise when guidelines are laid down.

Firstly, the level of employment needs to rise in order for the economy to develop in a positive way. There is a tendency to close our eyes to the enormity of the problems of sky high unemployment that we are actually facing. Only if we actively work to reduce unemployment can we stimulate growth and rectify the public finance imbalances.

Secondly, investments in employment have a positive effect on national budgets. Lower unemployment results both in tax revenue and in reduced social expenditure. It therefore pays to invest in employment policy.

Thirdly, employment policy can only work if it has the firm support of the social partners and scope is provided for effective cooperation. Furthermore, we need to transform our words into action.

 
  
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  Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE). (IT) Madam President, ladies and gentlemen, the new guidelines to promote employment constitute a fundamental step towards economic recovery and growth in Europe.

The meltdown has triggered a significant rise in the unemployment rate. In 2010, this figure reached 9.6%, and 20.3% for youth unemployment; in other words, millions and millions of people are unemployed. Yet unemployment is only part of the problem. Indeed, the task is not simply to create new jobs but to improve and preserve the ones that already exist.

To achieve the goals set out in the report, we also need a structural change in the economy. In this respect, despite the considerable efforts expended by the rapporteur, Mr Őry, Parliament’s response to the statistics I have just mentioned remains general and unfocused, and this is to the detriment of the European strategy. Indicators and key targets are not enough. It is not enough to use terms such as ‘coordinate’, ‘dialogue’ and ‘collaborate’. A pact between generations is not enough. We need a European policy that meets the needs of its citizens.

The limits imposed by budget policies must be overturned by more specific, development-oriented public planning. We must direct the actions we take today towards helping young people and future generations; we need training and education policies that allow for investment in human capital in order to improve its quality and to connect it to the labour market. We need to make choices that will help the production system. To sum up: we need less paperwork, more investment and clearer economic choices.

 
  
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  Evelyn Regner (S&D).(DE) Madam President, Commissioner, it is a particularly important concern of mine that we do not just create any old jobs, but that we create high quality, sustainable and good jobs.

In the employment policy guidelines as they currently stand, the aspect of the quality of the work seems to me to have been given far too little attention. If the EU sets itself the goal of increasing the European average labour market participation of 20 to 64-year-olds to 75% by 2020, then in my opinion, there is a high risk of a fixation on numbers, a measurable quantity-based ideology like we saw long ago in Soviet times. Thus, it must not simply be about achieving quantitative goals; the quality of the jobs is also important. Not all precarious, poorly paid, miserable, temporary jobs should be included in this calculation. Secure employment contracts and good contractual employment should be the primary objective.

 
  
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  Thomas Mann (PPE).(DE) Madam President, we have set ourselves high goals. In Mr Őry’s excellent report, we want Member States to undertake to increase the labour market participation to 75% of the active population by 2020. Mrs Bauer has just detailed how important that is. Particular attention is given to young people. The European Youth Guarantee is intended to enable all young people to find a job or further training within four months of completing their training, and ultimately, the school dropout rate is to be reduced to less than 10%.

As the European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, 2010 is also reflected in these guidelines. The number of those living below the poverty line is to be reduced by 25%. This is a major undertaking, as 20 million people will benefit from this. At the same time, we are stepping up the fight against the exclusion of the long-term unemployed. At least 25% of them require active labour market measures in the form of advanced training, education and an occupational redeployment.

Another point of focus is the new forms of employment, such as fixed-contract and temporary work. However, atypical employment contracts must not become typical for everyone. These forms of employment make sense if they create transitions to permanent, protected and high quality jobs, but only if they do so.

Another of the demands of the Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) is capable of receiving majority support, namely to fully use resources from the European Social Fund to increase employability and job quality. That is an important signal to our European Union Member States.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: Edward McMILLAN-SCOTT
Vice-President

 
  
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  Danuta Maria Hübner (PPE). – Mr President, there is a high risk of ‘jobless recovery’ or ‘jobless growth’ and Europe cannot afford that to happen.

Firstly, we must focus our employment strategy on the Union’s comparative advantages – which are education, research and green technology. Secondly, we must avoid a trade-off between innovation and job creation; such a trade-off can be avoided if innovation is inclusive.

Thirdly, we must strike a sustainable balance between support for existing jobs and the creation of new ones. Investing in a highly-skilled labour force will go hand in hand with innovation. Of course, there will be jobs that are not sufficiently rewarded by the markets, and we must have policy instruments to cope with this.

Fourthly, there is a need to activate both labour demand and supply policy measures. There are plenty of employment policy instruments available, but they must be put together in a good and comprehensive policy framework.

Fifthly, we must successfully orchestrate efforts and responsibilities and policy instruments between all levels of governance – European, national, regional and local. Last but not least, the internal market must provide for full mobility of the labour force, particularly in terms of career and lifelong learning; and it must do so horizontally geography-wise.

 
  
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  Elisabeth Morin-Chartier (PPE).(FR) Mr President, may I start by offering my congratulations to Mr Őry on this very complicated piece of work at a time of crisis, when employment guidelines up to 2020 are not exactly a statement of the obvious. The work carried out in the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs, to complement the Commission proposal, is absolutely fundamental.

I should like to emphasise three points. The first is the need for a firm policy on the integration of young people into work. In order to achieve this, apart from what my friend Mr Mann said earlier, we also need to fight against people leaving education with no qualifications. In fact, leaving education with no qualifications takes young people straight into professional exclusion and social exclusion. We all need to do a great deal of work here in order to combat unemployment among young people.

The second group on which we need to focus our efforts are women. We need to make a considerable effort here on two fronts: firstly, we need to fight for their jobs and for equal pay and for equal careers between men and women and, secondly, we need to help reconcile family life with professional life, because it is only by achieving this that we shall achieve real equality between men and women.

Finally, we need to make sure we break the vicious circle of early retirement, to ensure that greater life expectancy does not translate into a shorter working life, thereby depriving us of skills which are indispensable to us.

I am counting on the Council.

 
  
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  Horst Schnellhardt (PPE).(DE) Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, my compliments to the rapporteur. He has tabled a sound report. I would particularly like to praise the fact that the guidelines have been clearly subdivided and will serve as a good guide to the Council and Commission for future legislation. I especially welcome the fact that these guidelines and the subject of employment have been brought together with cohesion policy, so that from 2014, cohesion policy is to be utilised in particular to reduce unemployment.

However, I must also express some criticism. A phrase was deleted from recital 6 and I simply cannot understand why. If it states that ‘the euro was a stabilising factor in limiting the effects of the economic and financial crisis’, then that is a true reflection of reality. I cannot simply delete this for the sake of a compromise. In this regard, I think that we have made a mistake. The additional wording that follows on from this is right, but in this form, I cannot support it.

 
  
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  Sylvana Rapti (S&D).(EL) Mr President, I really must congratulate Mr Őry on his excellent report. This is a report based on assent. This gives the report a much stronger voice and the Commission and Council need to take serious account of it.

We socialists are delighted that the report includes our non-negotiable basic position, which we believe will resolve the problems of unemployment and human dignity. We are talking about equal pay for equal work in the same workplace. However, I would add the question of dignity to this. Jobs must be sustainable and work must be decent.

The Council appears to be willing to take account of all this; however, I would say that it is not enough to take account of this in the recitals alone and it should be included in the main body of the text.

 
  
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  Danuta Jazłowiecka (PPE).(PL) Mr President, in European debates on employment policy, we usually speak about the fight against unemployment and about appropriate social protection, but, unfortunately, we devote much less time to subjects related to getting people back into work or supporting people with the enterprise to create new jobs. The guidelines have included support for labour market participation as a priority. Let us remember, however, that once priorities have been established, it is extremely important to put them into effect. It is disturbing to read the communication from the Commission, which shows that educated people and those already in employment have used 70% of the Social Fund for increasing labour market participation, while only 30% of it has been used by those who are unemployed. I hope implementation of the 2020 strategy will reverse those proportions and that we will achieve a real increase in the effectiveness of the Social Fund and, at the same time, contribute to a rise in employment, and also that we will, at last, become competitive in the global labour market.

 
  
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  Derek Vaughan (S&D). – Mr President, I welcome this report. I think there is much to commend it. As a strong believer in cohesion policy and Structural Funds, I particularly welcome the comments about how crucial these funds are in helping people back to work.

In South Wales, for example, I have seen the European Social Fund going to provide schemes for skills training and many other schemes to help people back into work. Mr Andor might not like my saying this, but that is one of the reasons why I believe that the European Social Fund should remain with regional development and not go to employment. That is a discussion we will no doubt have sometime in the future.

I also welcome the recognition in the report of the importance of social partners. Of course, when I say social partners, I mean trade unions, but I also mean local authorities and regional government as well. These are big deliverers of services, but they are also big employers, and therefore should be included in any social dialogue on employment policies.

 
  
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  Jan Kozłowski (PPE).(PL) First of all, I would like to congratulate my colleague, Mr Őry, on drafting an excellent report. The guidelines should be clear and simple, and reducing their number is a step in the right direction. Achieving a rise in employment levels is a key challenge. Simply reducing structural unemployment will not suffice. It is important to anticipate and prevent problems, and to cultivate and develop enterprise and flexibility. It is not enough just to increase the number of people entering higher education. Higher education must educate at the right level and in those areas where there is a need for employees. The best way to escape from poverty is employment. Often, however, individual support programmes are necessary. It is also essential to monitor the effectiveness of work in this area. A condition for the success of the Europe 2020 strategy is that it be closely tied to cohesion policy. Simplification of the Structural Funds and a reduction in the associated bureaucracy should serve the objectives of the strategy.

 
  
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  Olivier Chastel, President-in-Office of the Council.(FR) Mr President, Commissioner, rapporteur, ladies and gentlemen, as you know, once all the opinions required under the treaty have been received, the Council’s general approach will be reviewed. Therefore, following the vote in plenary, the Council and its preparatory groups will examine Parliament’s amendments. The first meeting of the Working Party on Social Questions is planned for 14 September, the aim being to adopt these guidelines in the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) on 21 October.

In our eyes, there are no serious differences in substance between the Council’s general approach and Parliament’s position. Moreover, the Council has already amended the Commission’s initial proposal by including a number of important points for Parliament, especially gender equality, protection for disabled persons, the climate challenge, the development of entrepreneurship, stimulating the demand for work and protection for poor workers. Furthermore, all the Member States want a concise text in order to improve its efficacy.

The Belgian Presidency may therefore suggest to the Council that it take account of a number of Parliament’s amendments in the recitals, especially in terms of governance of the European Employment strategy and, in part, in relation to the definition of the objectives which the Member States are setting themselves, in terms of the quality of work and of decent work, in terms of the link with productivity and stimulation of SMEs and, finally, in terms of gender.

Furthermore, discussions – especially at the request of the Belgian delegation – have been held in the working group set up to define sub-objectives in terms of employment, especially for certain target groups. Ultimately, as you know, the Member States discounted this option. As it will be very difficult to include quantified sub-objectives in the guidelines, the Belgian Presidency may suggest that this question be linked to the new context of socio-economic governance, the EU 2020 strategy and economic governance.

The Presidency may therefore suggest to the Council that it should ensure that there is efficient monitoring of the guidelines. This monitoring would involve the annual adoption of employment recommendations for each country by the EPSCO Council, which might then recommend sub-objectives for each country, depending on their national circumstances.

Furthermore, as the Employment Committee (EMCO) has already emphasised in its contribution to the EU 2020 strategy, the Member States are encouraged to set national sub-objectives for target groups in keeping with their national circumstances.

I should like, by way of conclusion, to thank Parliament for its work on these guidelines and to assure it that this work will be taken into account.

 
  
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  László Andor, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, honourable Members, I feel there is time pressure, so will try to be relatively concise. I would like to make a few points concerning the procedure, and also the substantial parts of these discussions, because this is a key discussion for the present and the future of the European Union.

Indeed, we had a rush in the spring period, and it is well known that the Commission came to office itself with a delay because of the delayed ratification of the Lisbon Treaty in many countries. Some documents had to be produced to short deadlines, including, eminently, Europe 2020. This also affected the timetable for the employment guidelines, and rapid work had to be done on economic governance.

However, the challenges justified this rush, and I appreciate that in these challenges, we had good cooperation with the rapporteur and with Parliament in general. Now I, too, have to answer in a rush, but I have a few very substantial points.

First of all, a few comments drew a comparison with the Lisbon Agenda. We have much more structured objectives and a much better proposal for governance of the strategy, and that gives us hope that success will be guaranteed, as opposed to the Lisbon strategy which was only partially successful. Some criticism is justified, but it is not true that up to 2008 and the financial crisis, the Lisbon strategy was totally unsuccessful.

Some further issues: with the employment guidelines, we intend to boost both the quantity and the quality of jobs. The quantity has a numerical target in Europe 2020 as well and, in my view, this is an ambitious target given the fact that we are now at a low point and unemployment is very high and we are in a jobless recovery. It is not coming. It is here.

Unfortunately, there are only very few Member States where the number of employed people is increasing at this moment, but the good news is that Germany is one of them. With job growth in Germany, we now have hope that this could be sustained and will spread through other countries. The fact that now we have a better trend at the centre of the European economy highlights the importance of cohesion.

I would be the last one to deny the importance of cohesion policy, but would like to say that, if I needed to connect cohesion with the integrated guidelines, then I would have preferred to put it into the economic guidelines as opposed to the employment guidelines, because there are disparities within Europe, but there are much bigger disparities in terms of economic performance between the core and the periphery than in terms of unemployment rates.

However, I am happy, as ever, to work with you on issues of cohesion and its connection with employment policies. We have the ambitious target of 75% but I would like to make a correction which is that the 75% does not apply to every sub-group individually. For example, the implication is not that women also would have a 75% average. That is a figure we gave for men and women combined. That is important when Member States come to develop their own programmes for employment and to connect to the flagship initiative in the coming months.

We have ambitious work on subgroups like youth, and I would just like to draw your attention to the fact that next week, we launch the Youth on the Move flagship initiative. This is again something which is an inherent and strong part of our overall work on employment. If you look at the content of the Youth on the Move document, you will see that it is 50% education and 50% employment, because the Commission understands the importance of the employment challenges for young people in Europe.

A few more bullet points, owing to time pressure. We cannot promise maintenance of employment in every single sector, such as the coal industry which was mentioned. The Commission appreciates the importance of maintaining jobs in declining industries. We have extended the possibility of government subsidies to the coal industry for the next few years, but not endlessly.

We have to prepare for change and we have to prioritise the shift towards green jobs in the future. That is why we are working on green jobs in order to facilitate this transition, and in order better to anticipate what jobs will accompany this inevitable structural change in the economy and to help people prepare better for a different structure in terms of energy production, energy use, the construction industry, automotive industry, agriculture and so on and so forth.

I fully agree with what was said in terms of child poverty. We have just coordinated with the Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies that one would initiate a recommendation and the other would complete the work on a new recommendation on child poverty, which will be in full coordination with our work for the European platform.

I also agree that we have to look beyond the narrow set of instruments – the toolkit of employment policies – when aiming high to increase employment rates and going for full employment eventually. It is not only about working on skills, although skill development is central. We have to participate in the broader macro-economic discussions – in the discussion on exit strategies for example – and we have to make sure that a premature exit from supportive measures would not endanger the recovery and a return to job creation in Europe.

However, I would refrain from any kind of overtures in this context that would call into question the structure of the economic and monetary union and the newly-established structures of economic governance, because the lesson has to be learned. We have to pull together and that also means closer macro-economic coordination. The point is to take into account unemployment, which is one of the great imbalances of the economy, when we try to tackle the overall imbalances under the new structures of economic governance.

The European Social Fund will continue to be a major instrument to boost employment, especially to improve the quality of supply to help unemployed people to return to jobs, new jobs, better and more competitive jobs, and potentially to self-employment. I am in direct contact with the authorities in Wales who have explained to me with great satisfaction on how the ESF is working in Wales. I would like to maintain the ESF within the cohesion framework, but it is also true that, given the challenges of unemployment and poverty, we have to give the ESF better visibility. I would like to see a greater role, and greater involvement of Parliament in designing the future of the Social Fund and as concerns, for example, a new regulation for the future.

I am sure we can work on this together very well. I could comment on many other issues, but time is very short and I have had bilateral committee-level meetings and discussions with many of those now present.

Finally, I would like to thank the Belgian Presidency for the cooperation we have had with the deputy prime minister and with all the others responsible for employment issues and social affairs in the Belgian Government.

 
  
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  Csaba Őry, rapporteur. (HU) Mr President, what I would like to say to Mr Andor is that we did not create new objectives, but rather new sub-objectives. This means that we were not trying to add new objectives but to make the objectives more precise. I do hope it is acceptable in this form. What I see in connection with the debate is that we all agree that in order to survive the crisis and withstand competition from the emerging regions of the world, more of us must work more and better, and that in accomplishing this objective, the elderly, women, people with disabilities, as well as people who are low-skilled, are not a burden nor a liability but rather an opportunity and a reserve and, naturally, policies must be readjusted in this regard. There was also general agreement, and I am glad that the representatives of the Belgian Presidency emphasised this, that special attention should be paid to small and medium-sized enterprises and to their fiscal tax environment, as this is the area that can generate new jobs, and new jobs in large numbers. Obviously, we must focus on this area.

It is important that we discussed new forms of employment. They exist, they are here and they often give rise to misunderstandings. It is clear that better regulations are needed with regard to the International Labour Organisation's description of fair work and related expectations and requirements. Similarly, I am optimistic as regards what Mr Chastel said, that when we think about good governance, we also mean that we must monitor and check, that is, hold every one of us, ourselves, accountable as to whether we can actually achieve what we have jointly agreed, promised and decided to do.

So I would like to thank everybody for their cooperation. Our cooperation was indeed excellent, between the Commission, the Council, the fellow Members and the shadow rapporteurs. I do hope that eventually, this common joint effort will be reflected in the Council’s resolution, decision, and in any subsequent consultation process. I would like to point out that we are asking you that if you feel that a lot of changes are needed, then we should come back to it in a joint consultation. We, on our behalf and on behalf of the European Parliament, are, of course, ready for consultation. Thank you very much for your cooperation and I hope we managed to do a good job.

 
  
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  Paul Rübig (PPE).(DE) Mr President, I actually wanted to respond to the speech by Mr Clark, who claimed that we have a puppet court in the European Union. I would like to disagree with that statement. I am sure that Mr Clark is not a puppet MEP, he has been elected, and I believe that he should also preserve a sense of decency in this House. We live in a democracy, and therefore we should not describe a court as a puppet court.

 
  
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  President. – Thank you for the observation. Mr Clark is not here, but I am sure he will pick up your remarks.

The debate is closed.

The vote will take place tomorrow (Wednesday, 8 September 2010).

Written statements (Rule 149)

 
  
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  Sergio Berlato (PPE), in writing. (IT) As the International Monetary Fund recently emphasised in its half-yearly report, unemployment represents the greatest problem that advanced economies must face, and the situation will remain the same for years to come.

The situation for young people entering the job market for the first time is particularly difficult: according to recent Eurostat data, youth unemployment is growing throughout Europe, partly due to the recent economic and financial crisis. In April, the Commission submitted its proposed ‘Europe 2020 Integrated Guidelines’, which set out a framework for the new strategy and suggest reforms that Member States must implement.

With reference to the report we are discussing today, which examines the employment-related part of the integrated guidelines, in particular, I agree with the assertion that the number of guidelines should be limited in order to give greater focus to European action to combat the problem of growing unemployment.

I would like to take this opportunity to stress the importance of investment in human capital: we need to promote investments in human resources and prioritise lifelong vocational training while also providing incentives for innovation within small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the driving force behind the European economy.

 
  
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  Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D), in writing. (LT) Due to the economic and financial crisis, the situation in the European labour market will continue to be very tense over the coming years. Given these circumstances, combating unemployment must be one of the most important policy tasks of the EU and Member States and therefore, this should be better reflected in the guidelines proposed by the Commission.

I would like to stress that in these employment guidelines in general, too little attention is paid to gender equality policy and the promotion of women’s entrepreneurship. In order to really reduce the dangers of poverty in Europe, we must set binding targets to be able to remove gender stereotypes, the current discrimination in the labour market and the structural causes which result in men and women receiving unequal pay, as well as remove the barriers preventing women from carrying out certain professions and limiting women’s opportunities to start businesses.

The guidelines also fail to advance the goal of the reduction of illegal or shadow economy work, because at this difficult time in many countries, people are working illegally, as they are simply unable to find another way out of the current situation. The guidelines do not promote any ambitious objectives to combat poverty, and in combating poverty, employment and education policy measures must be taken, aimed at the most vulnerable groups who face extreme poverty, for example, single mothers, older people receiving small pensions and disabled people.

Therefore, I call on the Member States and the Commission to strive for maximum implementation of guideline goals, because otherwise, Europe will not achieve the results set out in the guidelines.

 
  
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  Martin Kastler (PPE), in writing.(DE) I welcome the report on the guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States prepared by Mr Őry. Why is that? In this report, the European Parliament has made it very clear what we Europeans can expect in the coming years in the area of work and employment. In addition to the questions of migration and demographic change, the potential for employment in Europe in the area of the so-called ‘green economy’ is a very important issue. This potential can only be exploited successfully if there are sufficient qualified jobs available. This offers a unique opportunity for women at management level in particular. Both men and women have equal opportunities in this dynamic and still relatively new area of business, something that is sometimes more difficult in other areas. It is necessary to ensure that it is possible to balance work and family life, for example, by creating family-friendly jobs and by providing childcare facilities. It must be possible to establish individual models for working hours, as well as part-time arrangements, particularly for those in management positions. Unfortunately, this is not yet possible in all parts of Europe’s labour market.

 
  
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  Tunne Kelam (PPE), in writing. – As Mr Daul said this morning, we need more Europe. More Europe does not mean interfering more in the activities of our citizens or Member States. It means becoming more efficient and proficient as a Union. The integrated guidelines will largely serve this understanding.

Unemployment rates are at their highest levels for ten years, with youth unemployment at an alarming level. This risks undermining attempts to restore economic growth in the foreseeable future.

At the same time, any solutions should incorporate a quality dimension. President Barroso pointed today to four million job vacancies. Mostly, these vacant jobs require a skilled labour force. I urge the Commission to introduce without delay the proposed European vacancy monitoring system that will include also a European skills passport.

However, the most immediate challenge is to provide a quality education for young people that matches much more closely the practical needs of the labour markets. Educational programmes should be reformed with this goal in mind, and Member States need to commit to reducing school drop-outs.

The all-European target should be to provide our continent with a skilled workforce.

Finally, we need determination and courage to drastically reduce the administrative and non-tariff barriers for SMEs.

 
  
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  Ádám Kósa (PPE), in writing.(HU) My fellow Member, Csaba Őry, has done an excellent job for which he deserves nothing but praise. As a Member of the European Parliament who is also a person with a disability, I am convinced that without his work and his openness, the European People’s Party, the largest political group in Europe, would not be supporting the involvement of people with disabilities in the European Parliament’s work as much as it does now. Mr Őry’s novel approach and his focus on simplification may bring enduring results in both the selection of appropriate topics and their adequate implementation. Not only did my fellow Member choose his main topic effectively but, thanks to his professional coordination efforts, the objectives of the European Parliament and of the European People’s Party in particular can be accomplished more extensively through the fine tuning of apparent interfaces. The most important of these objectives is investing in people as capital. We need an increasing number of sustainable jobs. In addition to creating quality workplaces, I also find the employment of people with disabilities a vital goal, as their unemployment rate ranges between 60 and 70%, reaching even 90% in certain Member States. In addition to innovation and green workplaces, Europe must also provide work for groups which are difficult to train. This may even result in the reconsideration of globalisation by contrasting the exploitation of socially deprived workers coming from outside the European Union and undercutting prices with the increasing unemployment among people with disabilities.

 
  
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  Joanna Katarzyna Skrzydlewska (PPE), in writing.(PL) The EU economy is slowly being rebuilt after the crisis which began in 2008. The level of employment in most EU Member States is, however, still disturbingly low – lower than before the crisis. Young people are one of the social groups which have been worst hit by the problem of the rise in unemployment during the economic crisis. Since 2008, the number of young people who are without work has risen dramatically, and currently in many Member States, the level of unemployment among people between the ages of 15 and 25 is higher than the overall level. These data are disturbing, particularly in view of the phenomenon of the ageing of society in the European Union, which means that the number of people of productive age is falling in relation to the number of retired people. It is particularly important, therefore, to help young people to get their first job and to find stable employment. The report on guidelines for employment policies for Europe 2020 is a useful step towards improving the situation of young people in the labour market. However, to ensure a marked improvement, it is necessary to put additional measures in place at the level of the Member States. Particular emphasis should be given to supporting young people in finding their first job and to combating unemployment among graduates. Providing a qualified workforce which possesses the skills needed by the market, and also preparing graduates to enter the labour market, are just some of the tasks which should be tackled at the level of educational establishments.

 
  
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  Theodor Dumitru Stolojan (PPE), in writing.(RO) The creation of new jobs in the European Union is also dependent upon the labour market’s complete deregulation. It is our duty, as MEPs, to take action on this. Let us ask those Member States which still maintain restrictions on the free movement of labour from certain Member States to act on this. Let us ask all Member States, the European Commission and the Council to adopt the measures required to make the labour market more flexible, as it is still fragmented nowadays by too many national restrictions. Without this greater flexibility, the labour market’s adjustment to the economic cycle is delayed and difficult, resulting in far greater losses for people.

 
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