With unemployment rates below 7%, creating jobs risks becoming a less relevant priority for the EU, but such statistics do not capture the disconcerting picture of employment around the continent. Eurostat reports that in 2021, 31.2 million people in the EU faced an unmet demand for employment, corresponding to 14% of the extended labour force. On average at the EU level, one out of five unemployed is out of the labour market for more than 2 years; more than one out of ten of those having a job is still ‘in poverty’ and over 5 million young people below 30 are out of a job.
This situation is likely to be exacerbated as economic uncertainty intensifies and megatrends such as demographic changes, the climate crisis, and technological developments endure. We consider it a responsibility of the public sector to offer solutions that not only activate people facing social exclusion but also steer the economy in the desired direction: creating jobs for the green transition, the care sector and youth.
Job guarantee-like initiatives already exist in Europe: in France, Austria and Belgium. In the context of giving real bite to the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, particularly in view of supporting the headline target of 78% of the active population employed by 2030, the EU could launch an initiative to scale up and multiply the success of local and national experiences. An EU initiative to support job guarantee programmes in the member states could help create sustainable, quality jobs, with meaningful benefits to the economy and communities and foster democracy in the workplace.
This event is dedicated to bringing together people and organisations interested in the concept of an EU-level initiative for Zero Unemployment Areas – borrowing from the French example of the “Térritoires Zero Chômeurs de Longue Durée”. Based on a set of 10 principles for an EU Job guarantee brought forward by economist Pavlina Tcherneva, the meeting aims to gather a coalition interested in working together on refining what such an EU initiative could look like and on advocating for it collectively.
The meeting is meant to help structure a coalition of organisations interested in the public sector-led job creation to address the green transition, the shortages in the care industries, and opportunities for the youth.
David Rinaldi, Director of Studies and Policy, FEPS Janina Urban, Our Global Moment & Witten/Herdecke University Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES and Member of the European Committee of the Regions, rapporteur of the Own Initiative Report on the EU Initiative for Zero Unemployment Zones Claes-Mikael Ståhl, Deputy General Secretary, ETUC Aurore Lalucq, Member of the European Parliament, S&D Group Pavlina Tcherneva, Associate Professor of Economics, Bard College & Research Scholar at the Levy Economics Institute, Director of the Economic Democracy Initiative Isabelle Ferreras, President of the Royal Academy of Sciences, Letters and Fines Arts of Belgium, Professor at the University of Louvain, Senior Research Associate of the Harvard Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard University (TBC) Rania Antonopoulos, Senior Scholar and Director of the Gender Equality Program at the Levy Economics Institute, Professor at the New York University (TBC)
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