As the economic situation in the EU continues to improve, employment has started to pick up and improvements are now materialising in most sectors. However, considerable challenges remain. Councillor D’Attis therefore proposes that the European Commission’s employment policy guidelines provide financing instruments to help local and regional authorities fulfil their responsibilities. The revision of the 2010 Employment Guidelines are addressed to Member States with the intention of addressing consequences of the crisis and providing practical guidance on the priorities of the new agenda. However, he argues that local and regional authorities have considerable competences and capacities in the fields covered by these guidelines and are essential partners for designing and implementing the National Reform Programmes. The opinion can be summarised by the following key proposals: greater synergies with the new European investment policy aimed at encouraging expenditure for long-term benefits and supporting local initiatives; a better control on the use of the European Social Fund to address employment, social inclusion and cohesion without adding red tape; targeted actions to increase skills among young people; notably within the digital and green economies which have been positive throughout the recession and are forecast to remain quite strong; encouragement of independent entrepreneurship and self-employment, which has an undeniable impact on economic growth at local level; smarter rules on mobility, which promote comprehensive and long-term social investment by regional and local authorities in line with the right to free movement of workers, and which may be able to prevent highly qualified people from leaving the areas where they are most needed.

The consequences of the crisis vary considerably between Member states and regions. Because local and regional authorities play an important role in the implementation of national employment legislation, it is important for me to consider the local and regional dimension of the different measures directed to the Member states in the new employment guidelines.

Georges Bach
Member of the European Parliament and EPP shadow rapporteur on the Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States

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