Thursday, July 25, 2024

Commission proposes guidelines for Member States’ employment policies

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The Commission is proposing guidelines for Member States’ employment policies in 2024. These guidelines, which are part of the 2024 European Semester Spring Package, set common priorities for national employment and social policies to make them fairer and more inclusive.









European Semester Spring Package


The Commission is today providing policy guidance to Member States under the 2024 European Semester Spring Package to build a robust and future-proof economy that secures competitiveness, resilience and long-term prosperity for all, while maintaining sound public finances, in the face of a challenging geopolitical environment.


The EU is determined to take further steps to enhance its long-term competitiveness, prosperity and leadership on the global stage and to strengthen its open strategic autonomy. While the EU and its Member States have strong assets to build on, the EU will continue to address structural challenges that hamper its competitiveness, ensuring higher productivity growth and stronger investment and addressing labour and skills shortages.


This requires an integrated approach across all policy areas: macroeconomic stability, promoting environmental sustainability, productivity and fairness. The European Semester provides this policy coordination, including the implementation of NextGenerationEU, with the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) at its core, and Cohesion Policy programmes.


The European Semester cycle also provides updated reporting on progress towards the delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals and identifies investment priorities for the upcoming mid-term review of Cohesion Policy.


Employment guidelines


The Commission is proposing guidelines for Member States’ employment policies in 2024. These guidelines set common priorities for national employment and social policies to make them fairer and more inclusive.


The 2023 guidelines are updated to cover actions to tackle skills and labour shortages and improve basic and digital skills. New technologies, artificial intelligence and algorithmic management and their impact on the world of work are also included. In addition, the guidelines refer to recent policy initiatives, in areas of particular relevance such as platform work, the social economy, and affordable housing.


Finally, the Commission underlines the importance of monitoring progress towards the EU-wide 2030 headline targets, and the contributing national targets, in the areas of jobs, skills and poverty reduction.


Assessing social convergence challenges


In this Semester cycle, the Commission has carried out for the first time a two-stage analysis of employment, skills and social challenges in each Member State, based on the revised Social Scoreboard and the principles of a Social Convergence Framework.


The first-stage analysis is included in the Joint Employment Report (JER) 2024, while a more detailed second-stage analysis was published by the Commission services in May 2024 for seven Member States (Bulgaria, Estonia, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Hungary and Romania).


Resilience in the face of challenges


The European Semester has played a crucial role in supporting strong and coordinated economic policy responses over the past five years, as the EU was confronted by a series of extraordinary challenges.


The EU has demonstrated a high degree of economic and social resilience in the face of major shocks, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the related energy price surges and inflation hikes.


Looking ahead, the Spring 2024 Economic Forecast projects GDP growth in 2024 at 1.0% in the EU and 0.8% in the euro area, on the back of a strong labour market and dynamic private consumption.


In 2025, growth is forecast to accelerate further to 1.6% in the EU and to 1.4% in the euro area. Meanwhile, inflation is expected to fall from 6.4% in 2023 to 2.2% in 2025.


Next steps


The Commission invites the Eurogroup and the Council to discuss the package and to endorse the guidance offered today. It looks forward to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the European Parliament on the contents of this package and each subsequent step in the European Semester cycle.


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