How can the unemployment rate be reduced

Reducing unemployment: what is the EU doing? 

Unemployment rate in the EU

The unemployment rate in the EU has continued to fall since mid-2013.

In April 2019 it was 6.4 percent (compared to 7 percent in April 2018), the lowest value since the publication of monthly unemployment statistics began in January 2000. In April 2019, the unemployment rate in the euro area was 7.6 percent. In April 2018 it was 8.4 percent.

Who is responsible? EU vs. Member States

The Member States are primarily responsible for employment and social policy. However, the EU has the task of complementing and coordinating the actions of the Member States and promoting the exchange of good practice.

The so-called horizontal social clause in Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union (TFEU) states that the Union "should, in defining and implementing its policies and actions, take into account the needs related to the promotion of high levels of employment [...]" .

The European employment strategy and its objectives

The European employment strategy includes common goals among Member States to reduce unemployment and create more and better jobs.

The strategy introduced in 2017 is now part of the Europe 2020 growth strategywhich sets the EU's targets by 2020 in various areas such as education, research and development or climate protection. It is used as a reference framework for action at Union level and at national and regional level.

The 2020 targets are as follows: The employment rate for the 20 to 64-year-old age group should be 75 percent be. It also aims to reduce the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion to 96.2 million. In 2008, 116.1 million people (in the EU-27) were affected by poverty.

In 2017, 72.2 percent of the EU population aged 20 to 64 were in work. This is 2.8 percentage points less than the 2020 target.

In 2016, 118 million people in the EU-28 were at risk of poverty and social exclusion.

The European Commission monitors and implements the strategy within the framework of the European semester around. This is an annual process at EU level to coordinate economic and employment policies.

The situation in relation to employment and social issues is based on and within the framework of the European Semester employment guidelines rated. The guidelines include common priorities and objectives for national employment policy. The EU Commission issues country-specific recommendations based on the progress made towards achieving the individual goals and supports the member states in their implementation.

How is social policy financed at EU level?

The European Social Fund (ESF) is Europe's main tool to ensure fair job opportunities for all EU citizens, from workers and young people to job seekers.

The European Parliament proposes to increase the fund in the upcoming long-term EU budget 2021-2027 and to focus on education, employment and social inclusion. The new European Social Fund Plus (ESF +) aims to improve the quality of jobs, make it easier to find a job in other regions of the EU, improve training opportunities and promote health and social inclusion.

The EU Program for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI) aims to modernize employment and social policies. Social enterprises and people from socially disadvantaged groups who want to start a micro-enterprise should have easier access to finance.

Job mobility is achieved through the EURES network promoted. The European job network facilitates mobility by providing information to employers and job seekers. It also includes a Europe-wide database with job vacancies and applications.

The European Globalization Adjustment Fund (EGF) helps workers who lose their jobs as a result of globalization or the economic and financial crisis, for example due to the closure of a large company or the relocation of a production facility outside the EU. The fund helps employees find a new job or start their own business.

The Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD)was set up to contribute to Member States' initiatives to provide food and basic material assistance and social inclusion policies.

The new ESF + aims to bring together a number of existing funds and programs, such as the ESF, EaSI, FEAD, the Employment Initiative for Young People and the EU Health Program, pool resources and provide more targeted support to citizens.

Combating youth unemployment

One of the EU measures to combat youth unemployment is Youth Guarantee. This is the commitment of the Member States to ensure that all young people under the age of 25 receive a high-quality offer of employment, training, apprenticeship or internship within four months of becoming unemployed or completing their education. The implementation of the Youth Guarantee is supported by EU funding from the Employment Initiative for Young People.

TheEuropean Solidarity Corps enables young people to take part in volunteer or employment projects across Europe. The "Your first EURES job" platform is aimed at young people between the ages of 18 and 35 who want to gain work experience abroad and helps them to find a job, an internship or an apprenticeship.

Right education, right job

By promoting and improving skills acquisition, comparing skills and providing information, the EU helps citizens find quality jobs and make better career choices.

The new European Skills Agenda, which was launched in 2016, consists of ten measures to provide citizens with the right education and support. A number of existing instruments (such as Europass) are being revised.