The next 12 months will see a concentrated effort at EU level to increase
the total number and quality of jobs, and the acceleration of economic reforms.
The improvement and modernisation of the European Social model and the
harnessing of new technologies will be key to this process.
The council reaffirmed its commitment to making the union the most
"competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world by
2010". It agreed targets of an average 67 per cent employment rate (57 per
cent for women) by 2005.
Other areas of action include:
– A report on how to increase worker participation
– The development of indicators on the provision of care facilities for
children and other dependants
– The endorsement of the High Level Skills and Mobility Task Force – which
focuses on ICT skills
Education systems, the validation and comparability of qualifications are
all impacting on employment that are recognised as being of strategic
significance. Concentration on the European Social model in particular welfare
systems and the demographic challenge facing them, is planned in the coming
year. Sustained public finance, a pensions review, healthcare and care of the
elderly will be reviewed at EU and national level.
Quality of Work an objective
At the next European summit, at Laeken, Belgium, further workforce issues
will be addressed, including gender equality, lifelong learning, health and
safety, employee involvement and diversity. Findings will be included in the
Employment Guidelines for 2002.
Look out for:
Green Paper on Social Responsibility to be published in June.
Telework guidelines reach the second phase
The guidelines drawn up by the Commission as a framework for discussion on
employment conditions for teleworkers has been submitted to the Social
Partners. It is now up to both sides of industry to indicate their intention on
formal negotiations on the proposal.
Already fundamental differences of opinion have emerged with Unice inviting
the ETUC to negotiate a non-binding agreement. The trade union wants a binding
Framework guidelines include:
– Telework should be voluntary, with a right to return to the office
– Guaranteed employee status
– Equal rights with office workers
– The right to all necessary information
– Employer should bear costs
– Suitable training guaranteed
– Health and safety protection
– Respect of legal working hour limits
– Protection of private life and personal data
– Maintenance of contact with company
– Collective rights of teleworkers
– Access to teleworking
Date to note:
17 May 2001 – Brussels
The European Human Resources Network meets with European Commission DGV to
discuss the European Competition Policy and Employment.