Europe must focus on making jobs and growth a top priority, to help people into work and to lift more people out of poverty, according to work and pensions minister James Plaskitt.
He said inactivity, not unemployment, is increasingly recognised as one of the most serious challenges across Europe.
To address the issue, the EU must recognise the importance of building partnerships between its countries, between government and social partners, and between public employment services and employers, he said.
“Public employment services, such as Jobcentre Plus, can act as an effective driving force and a dynamic broker in partnerships to extend job opportunities to people who have become excluded from the labour market. This includes working with employers and partners,” Plaskitt said.
“Reform is essential if Europe is to thrive in the new economy and if our people are to share in greater prosperity. The key task is to get policies in place which bring down trends of unemployment and inactivity.”