THE TASK FORCE'S PROPOSALS
171. The High Level Task Force set up by the Commission
has put forward a number of proposals designed to improve the
availability of information on geographical mobility and employment
172. Foremost amongst these is the development of
the EURopean Employment Services network (EURES), "which
includes a database on employment conditions and which simplifies
the pooling of information on job vacancies Europe-wide"
173. Eurocadres believes "that the EURES system
should be extended" so as to secure the participation and
support of the social partners beyond those who already contribute
in the cross-border areas (p 33, Q 155).
174. The Commission firmly believes that the reform
of EURES should be the result of "stronger involvement of
national employment services". The European Economic and
Social Committee (op. cit., p.4) and the European Parliament
Committee on Employment and Social Affairs (op. cit., p.20)
both welcomed this initiative. Yet the Commission announced that
in its "biannual meeting with the heads of the employment
services", where it launched this idea, "the reaction
was not as enthusiastic as we could have expected". The Commission
said that some heads of the employment services "indicated
that [geographical] mobility was not necessarily their main focus"
175. The Committee supports the proposal to overhaul
EURES to further the integration of the systems of the national
employment services. This way, Member States can decide themselves
what level of importance to give to the projecta decision
that we believe can only be made after they have evidence both
on the relative importance of geographical mobility to the effective
functioning of labour markets and on people's attitudes to living
and working in another European country.
176. The TUC were concerned that "several cases
have been found where Portuguese workers have been recruited to
work in Britain via the EURES system, only to find that the pay
and conditions do not fully match those promised before leaving
Portugal" (p 85). Eurocadres agree that there is a need to
introduce some monitoring of the EURES system, "in order
to avoid it falling into disrepute as a result of actual pay and
conditions not matching those initially offered" (p 33).
The Committee believes the Commission can play a role in monitoring
the EURES network.
177. The Task Force also proposes setting up a 'One-stop'
European Information Site on the internet. This would provide
"comprehensive, easily accessible and free information to
citizens on key aspects of jobs, mobility and learning opportunities
in Europe (including a jobs and learning database), individual
interests and rights, and other information" (op. cit.,
p 21). The Committee endorses this proposal.
178. The Commission is establishing "an Internet
portal on learning opportunities". In this context, the Task
Force asks that Member States ensure by 2002 the availability
of relevant national online databases, which can be interconnected
through the portal (op. cit., pp. 15, 22). As the Committee
clearly sees the benefits of occupational mobility and is keen
to support learning and training, we fully support this initiative.
We ask the Commission to ensure that opportunities for lifelong
learning take a prominent position in the databases.
179. The Commission is keen to promote "inter-cultural
education and education related to the respect of diversity"
(Q 224). Professor Schmidt believed that "it might well be
that the attitude towards Europe as a whole or the European Union
is shaped very much early on in school age." He speculated
"that there would be scope for improving knowledge and acceptance
in European countries for the idea of being a member of a larger
common Europe, and perhaps my suggestion would be that one should
introduce much earlier courses and curricula about that"
(Q 178). We see this as one means of educating people (of all
abilities) about their rights and the employment opportunities
that exist for them throughout the EU. This is possibly the most
effective and comprehensive way in which information can be given
180. The Government announced that, as of 2002, the
National Curriculum will include a course on 'citizenship' "that
will include, among a number of other issues, teaching on the
European institutions". They explained that "the citizenship
part of the curriculum will include elements about the European
] it will be about what the Commission is,
what the Parliament is, so people understand that as well as the
national parliaments and the devolved parliaments there is also
a European Parliament and the Commission so that they understand
the basis of legislation." The Government hopes that this
"will be helpful in helping young people understand the European
infrastructure" (QQ 6, 8).
181. The Committee welcomes the introduction of
citizenship as part of the National Curriculum. We are also glad
to know that this will include teaching on the European institutions.
24 This can be accessed at www.eurocadres.org/mobilnet Back
This can be accessed at www.europa.eu.int/jobs/eures Back