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Parliamentary questions
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16 April 2018
Answer given by Ms Thyssen on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-007087/2017

The evidence already set out in the Commission 2016 Employment and Social Developments in Europe report(1) suggests that digitalisation, robotisation, artificial intelligence and new technologies in general could have a positive effect on jobs at the EU level. The Commission sees robots as helping humans so that they can focus on the essentials (e.g. a nurse focusing on patients instead of carrying bed linen). Robots can also do jobs that could be mundane or dangerous, such as inspecting oil tanks(2) or sorting out nuclear waste(3).

The Commission will continue its efforts to build knowledge on the effects of robotisation on employment. Member State approaches to technological innovation might be varied. The Commission will work with the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2018 to map and assess Member State policies and initiatives to deal with emerging new forms of work and related challenges and opportunities and possibly develop policy recommendations on how to promote technological innovation that benefit workers, business and the society as a whole.

The New Skills Agenda for Europe promotes, amongst other, a better match between the skills supply and demand in the current labour market. That includes Upskilling Pathways for the low skilled; the Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition to fill the growing number of vacancies for information and communication technology (ICT) professionals throughout the economy and to ensure that individuals are equipped with adequate digital skills for their jobs and their lives; and the Blueprint for Sectoral Cooperation on Skills analysing and addressing changing skills needs at sectoral level.

The European Pillar of Social Rights(4) sets out principles and rights that aim to address changes in the world of work and societies driven by technological change, globalisation, and changes in demography.

(1)Employment and Social Developments in Europe — Annual Review 2016, SWD (2016) 477.
(2)Petrobot project http://petrobotproject.eu/ — Oil and Gas inspection.
(3)RoMaNS project https://www.h2020romans.eu/ — Nuclear Decommissioning.
(4)COM(2017) 2600 final.

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