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Thursday, February 27, 2003

Social Policy Agenda is on track, see the forecast actions for 2003

Employment, Social Affairs,

News The Commission's third annual progress report on the EU's Social Policy Agenda of 2000 shows that the agenda is still on schedule and that it has helped to make EU labour markets more employment-friendly with 2.5 million new jobs created in 2001-2002.

But it also shows that the EU cannot be complacent and must step up the rhythm of reform if, as the Lisbon summit has set out, 15 million more new jobs are to be created between now and 2010. The Commission particularly criticises Member States for failing to set national employment targets, which risks undermining progress towards the Lisbon employment targets. The report also calls for action to reduce unemployment rates which, nudged by the economic downturn, have crept up to 7.8% in the EU, and 8.5% in the eurozone. The report adds that labour market weaknesses are partly responsible for keeping people in social exclusion and poverty. Latest available income data show that 15% of the EU population are a poverty risk, and 9% are at persistent risk of poverty. However, the report underlines that 40% of the EU population would have been at risk of poverty if welfare transfers were to be taken out of the calculation. It also points forward to the midterm review of the Social Policy Agenda later this year, which will stress the need for 'better jobs' as a motor of growth, both through productivity gains and by attracting more people into work. It is estimated that if the EU gave the equivalent of one extra year of education and training to everyone, it would increase overall EU productivity by about 5% immediately and an additional 5% in the long run. By the same token, good health boosts productivity : healthy workers earn 15-30% more than workers in poor health. The social policy agenda is the EU's roadmap for modernising and improving the European social model by investing in people and building an active welfare state. It promotes the Lisbon strategic objective of strengthening the EU's economic dynamism, creating full employment with quality jobs and promoting social cohesion. This is the third annual scoreboard reporting on the implementation of the social policy agenda. The objective is to keep track of achievements and slippage and to ensure the continuing commitment of the different actors in executing the agenda (see annex for details). The scoreboard also anticipates the main points of the mid-term review of the Social policy Agenda which will take place in 2003. Read the attachments of this article

Source :  Read the attachments of this article for the 2003 actions.


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