More efforts are needed to reduce unemployment in Europe. Social democratic and socialist ministers of employment and social affairs agreed in a meeting in Horsens/Denmark that creating more jobs and improving working conditions for Europe’s citizens must be a top priority in European politics, equally important to balancing national budgets. The ministers welcomed the Commission’s employment package as an important step forward, but called for concrete policies and the necessary financial support to follow up the good proposals presented by social democratic Commissioner Laszlo Andor. Decent minimum wages, regulations to improve the quality of work and support for the creation of new jobs should be supported by a mix of European and national policies.
Nicolas Schmit, chairperson of the social democratic ministers and employment minister in Luxemburg underlined: “By following Laszlo Andor’s proposals, the Commission finally accepted that unemployment can only be overcome by actively supporting the creation of new jobs. But this is only possible if we mobilise more private and public investments and support those companies willing and able to increase employment. I welcome all proposals to reinforce growth and employment, such as the proposals made by François Hollande to renegotiate the Fiscal Treaty in this respect. Including a specific programme for job creation in the Multi-annual Financial Framework, especially for young people, would be another measure needed to reduce unemployment in Europe.” In order to make progress on Europe’s employment policies, the chairperson is proposing to dedicate a European Council meeting in the autumn 2012 to jobs and growth, in which concrete decisions should be taken to rebalance economic policy and to promote effective job creation.
The ministers further underlined the urgency to reduce youth unemployment in Europe. They strongly supported the campaign of the Party of European Socialists (PES) “Your future is my future – a European Youth Guarantee Now”. Ministers agreed on the focus of the campaign to guarantee that every young person receives a new perspective four months after becoming unemployed or after leaving the education system. Ideally they should be offered a decent job, or alternatively further education or training. Ministers committed themselves to develop ideas for such youth guarantees for their countries.