A European Contribution towards full Employment (Communication)

In its Communication, the Commission proposes measures intended to contribute to more flexible labour markets, job creation, workers’ qualification and the improvement of working conditions.

The Commission’s considerations regarding employment policy are based on an EU headline target adopted under the strategy “Europe 2020” [COM(2010) 2020] whose aim it is to achieve an employment rate of 75% by 2020. In order to reach this target, the Commission is shifting its focus from a merely reactive to an anticipatory policy approach, as is already evident in the Single Market Act [COM(2010) 608] and the Flagship Initiative on the Innovation Union [COM(2010) 546], as well as an “Integrated Industrial Policy for the Globalisation Era“ [COM(2010 614)].


The propagated higher flexibility of labour markets helps to maintain jobs. The proposal to reduce temporary and provisional forms of employment, which are crucial to flexibility, is therefore counterproductive. Ensuring “adequate and sustainable” pensions irrespective of the insurers’ pension-saving contributions further erodes the model of state pension schemes. The introduction of a professional card facilitates cross-border job transition. Both abolishing temporary and provisional forms of employment and introducing new workers’ rights regarding working hours and patterns impede significantly the called for flexibility.

The proposed reduction of non-wage labour costs creates jobs. However, such a positive effect is partially or wholly destroyed if the resulting revenue shortfalls in social insurances is compensated for by higher energy and emissions taxation. Moreover, it undermines the European emissions trading system, which already prices energy consumption and emissions at a desirable level in terms of environmental policy.