Communication from the Commission to the
New European Labour Markets, Open to All,
with Access for All (Document 6453/01)
Opening the new European labour markets and
making them more accessible was identified as one of the 10 key
areas for policy action in the European Commission's contribution
to the Spring European Council (Stockholm 2001), entitled "Realising
the European Union's potential: consolidating and extending the
The Commission intends to promote a new strategy
for ensuring the New European Labour Markets are open and accessible
to all by 2005. This Communication presents an analysis of the
drivers and changing characteristics of the new labour markets,
and the benefits that would flow from achieving greater efficiency
and openness. It outlines existing policy initiatives to ensure
free movement of people and to increase the level of skills and
their transferability from one country to another, and sets out
the main, additional, policy steps that need to be taken in order
to meet the new challenges and opportunities within the European
Union, focusing on mobility within the existing EU. This Communication
is therefore aimed at ensuring that all citizens, and not just
a select few, benefit from mobility opportunities. In particular,
it identifies a set of key tasks for the new High-level Skills
and Mobility Task-Force proposed by the Commission in its Communication
The Communication addresses the issue of how
best to ensure that the various labour markets that make up the
European labour market are open to all, with access for all within
the EU, given:
Pressure from increasingly integrated
European businesses, and from mobile workers, for simpler solutions
to their mobility and recruitment needs across Europe's labour
markets. This is particularly pressing in the light of the continued
strengthening of the European economy, and in the context of the
continuing integration of many sectors and industries under the
impact of the euro and the Internal Market;
The impact of wide-ranging structural
changes across Europedriven by globalisation, technology,
demography and social aspirations. These are revealing constantly
changing and commonly experienced skills needs, especially with
the emergence of the high productivity New Economy and the knowledge
society. They are also raising skills gaps and mobility issues
in more prosperous regions;
The challenge of ensuring greater
convergence and opportunity across the regions of the EU in the
face of economic and social change and integration. This is important
in relation to the Union's relatively slow pace in advancing cohesion
in terms of levels of employment, and in relation to the impact
of further enlargement.
A comprehensive European policy initiative is
called for in order to:
Remove the main remaining barriers
to the development of European labour markets;
Ensure the new European labour markets
are attractive, efficient, open to all, with access for all;
Ensure the effective development
and utilisation of the potential European workforce, especially
for effective matching of skills supply and demand and develop
the skills levels of the potential European workforce through
lifelong learning. Maximise the potential of the Internal Market
by ensuring a harmonious development between the integration of
product and capital markets, and a modern highly-skilled European
2. NEW EMERGING
The right and opportunity to live and work in
different Member States within the EU as enshrined in the Treaty
of Rome reflects an important political aspiration of Europe's
citizens, even though the numbers of people actually moving between
Member States have not generally matched up to this aspiration
throughout much of the Union's history.
More than 10 years ago, in the run-up to the
1992 Internal Market programme, surveys showed that almost 80
per cent of the EU's population saw the possibility to work abroad
for part of one's career as an advantage.
In looking at pan-European labour markets, it
is important to recognise that these are one among a varied set
of different labour markets. Some are best described in geographical
termsEuropean, national, regional, local. Others are more
appropriately seen as occupational or skill-based. Most of them
overlap, to a lesser or greater extent.
Historically, where large-scale movements of
people within the Union have taken place, they had very specific
causeswith, for example, manual workers, both skilled and
unskilled, moving from agricultural regions in the South to industrial
regions in the North, particularly into steel and mining regions.
The emerging new European labour markets contain
geographical and occupational dimensions, too. The drivers of
these new labour markets are, however, rather different: globalisation;
technological, social and demographic change; the processes of
European integration itself, including the euro; and the shift
to services. These driving forces affect not only the mobility
of labour, but also the need for and availability of skills at
all levels, including basic and intermediate skills.
Several Member States are also facing emerging
skill shortages, across a range of sectors, occupations, and skill-levels,
which threaten to impede the Union's ability to maximise growth
and job creation. Providing the skills required by the knowledge
economy and society is essential to help fill the skills gaps.
Greater European efforts on research and technological development
require an increase in the number and mobility of researchers.
The objectives of education and training must be redefined to
equip individuals with the basic skills and qualifications needed
on the labour market. Furthermore, given the pace of technological
change, individuals must have universal and continuing access
to lifelong learning to upgrade their skills or embrace a new
career. Mobility of EU nationals in this new context is tending
to take four main forms: temporary migration (often linked to
specific job contracts); mobility within multi-national enterprises
(possibly involving a career-long peripatetic lifestyle, but also
possibly short term regular moves); mobility between industry
and academia; and cross-border commuting of various kinds.
The most fast-emerging new European labour markets
are found in high-tech and growth industries and services, and
among multi-national companies. The workers concerned tend to
be younger and more highly skilled. However, as Europe's population
grows older, the number of young educated people, many of whom
possess up-to-date skills, diminishes. Therefore, skills shortages
will increase unless policy responses are developed to ensure
that all young people are equipped with the qualifications and
skills needed on the labour market and that adults are given the
possibility of updating them.
Policies must also ensure that the European
labour markets are attractive and efficient. During the 1990s
there was an increase in the number of highly-qualified scientists
and engineers of EU origin employed in the US, which reached 83,000
in 1997. The outflow of highly skilled people mostly affects middle-career
staff (35 per cent in the 35 to 44 age range). So, the drivers
and characteristics of both occupational and geographical mobility
are changing. 20 to 30 years ago, the structural shifts in the
EU economy were from agriculture to industry, and from rural to
industrial and urban locations. The new poles of attraction are
now more often cities. And many of the key employment opportunitieswhich
act as an incentive for migrationare in services (at medium
and at high skill level) or high skill manufacturing occupations
and research and technological development.
The changing location and skill requirements,
and the changing competitiveness of industry and services are
also influenced by changes in the nature of production processes
and markets, with mass-production co-existing with highly specialised,
high value-added, products and services.
In cases where the total Europe-wide markets
for people may be relatively small, there are strong pressures
to cluster in order to achieve economies of scale and "externality"
benefits. Hence media-related industries tend to cluster in a
limited number of localities within Member States, and financial
services are increasingly clustering in fewer and fewer locations
across Europe. In this context, virtual mobility could be used
as a means of reducing this pattern of clustering.
The result is a much more complex pattern of
migration movements between different urban and industrial/service
centres, with changing geographical centres of competitiveness,
and the growth of different industry clusters.
The importance of the emerging new European
labour markets should not be measured, however, just in terms
of the free movement of people.
The creation of more genuine European labour
marketsremoving barriers, reducing adjustment costs and
skills mis-matcheswill increase the efficiency of labour
markets overall. This would in fact reduce pressures to migrate
for those who do not want to move, while creating genuine opportunities
for those who do wish to be mobile.
The impact on national, regional and local markets
of such wider competition is similar to the impact of trade competition,
where all businesses in all countries re-adjust their production
to the new patterns, and balance, of demand and supply. The more
that jobs and skills at local, regional and national level evolve
to meet and reflect the new opportunities created by the development
of European-wide jobs markets, the less pressure there will be
for increasing the physical re-location of people.
This European-wide processcombined with
the benefits of the progressive internal reforms of national labour
markets that are taking place under the European Employment Strategy
(through its National Action Plan programmes), and which includes
a new guideline on mobility and a cross-cutting lifelong learning
objectivewill serve to raise the abilities of the European
workforce, and strengthen the adjustment capacity of the European
economy: two of the pillars on which rising productivity and future
improvements in European living standards, depend. This will require
the full use of the potential of the European Employment Strategy.
3. MOBILITY AND
Mobility in the EU is low. Within regions and
within the Member States, it is lower than within the individual
states of the US. Within the EU, it is much lower across national
borders than within individual Member States.
These low levels of mobility reflect various
continuing barriers and difficulties. At the same time, there
are a number of pressures leading to a demand for more and easier
mobility. These same pressures are also leading to a change in
the characteristics and nature of the mobility that is observed
in the EU.
A little over 5 per cent
of the EU's resident population are non-nationals of the Member
State in which they are resident. However, only about one-third
of these are EU nationals. Hence, less than 2 per cent of EU nationals
are resident in another EU Member State (although these figures
may understate the degree of movement that takes place over time,
in so far as those who move change nationality). The remainder
are third country nationals who do not have the right of free
On an annual basis, total migration in the EU
is estimated to represent around 0.75 per cent of the resident
population. Of these, about 25 per cent are returning nationals,
and 20 per cent are nationals of other EU Member States.
This means that mobility, on an annual basis,
of EU nationals within the EU is less than 0.4 per cent of resident
populationsome 1.5 million people. Similar figures for
the US are about six times higher, although the two systems are
not directly comparable, either in mobility flows or causes of
mobility, but data indicates that mobility is higher in the USA.
In 1998, migration between States in the US was approximately
2.4 per cent of the population.
Over a 10-year period, this implies there is
cross-state mobility in the US equivalent to one quarter of the
population. In the EU, on current trends, it would only be 4 per
cent of the population.
Data for individual Member States in Europe
is limited, but there is evidence of considerable diversity. Migration
in Germany and Denmark, for example, is over 1.2 per cent on an
annual basis, while it is lowest in France, Spain and Greece (where
it is less than 0.2 per cent).
Such differences are also reflected in mobility
between regions within Member States: 0.6 per cent in Spain, 1.2
per cent in Germany, 1.6 per cent in the UK. In the US, mobility
between counties within a State is about 3 per cent a year. This
comparatively low level of mobility within EU Member States also
constitutes a constraint on economic activity.
Cross-border commuting is a growing phenomenon
within the EU: about 600,000 workers a year currently commute
across national borders to workabout half between EU Member
States, and half between the EU and third countries.
These new drivers of mobility are also reflected
in the changing characteristics of mobility. Migration is forecast
to become increasingly "selective" over the next five
to 10 years.
This selectivity is characterised by an increased
tendency towards: "temporary migration" (limited stays
in another country); corporate migration (and the accompanying
international and European management of corporate human resources);
mobility between industry and academia; and increased cross-border
commuting (with patterns such as "weekend" commuting
making it increasingly difficult to distinguish between commuting
These patterns of selective migration are most
in evidence among highly qualified labour and in high-technology
and growth industries, including services. These patterns parallel,
to a considerable extent, the employment trends observed in national
labour markets in the second half of the 1990s, where the fastest
job growth was seen in the "high-education" sectors
(such as managers, professionals and technicians)over three
times faster than average employment growth. The corollary is
that employment growth among the low-skilled, who are heavily
over-represented among the unemployed, has been well below average.
A further important characteristic of mobility
in the EU is that the majority of migrants are in younger age
groups. They are principally found in the age group 16-30, and
especially in the age group 21-25. Mobility in the US is also
a youth phenomenon, but not so focused on the lower end of the
range. Mobility there is highest across the 20-34 age group.
These developments highlight the pressing need
to focus attention on facilitating both geographical and occupational
mobility for all, including those with lower levels of skills.
The emerging European labour markets give new choices and opportunities
to individuals and also helps ensure the effective economic operation
of European labour markets in their basic role of matching labour
supply and demand. Mis-matches in labour supply and demand have
frequently been a cause of concern in the past, and are already
stifling the functioning and development of goods and services
markets, and, more widely, the Internal Market's capability to
maximise growth and create jobs.
Today, the combination of a buoyant macro-economic
environment with strong economic growth, and on-going deep structural
change in the economy, has led to the emergence of so-called "skills
gaps" in a number of sectors and occupationsnotably
in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sectors,
but also in other sectors such as Construction, Health Services,
The number of ICT jobs in the EU is predicted
to grow from the current figure of 10 million to about 13 million
in 2003. And while it is not always clear how best to describe
a skills gap, or how best it to close it, some studies estimate
the shortage in the EU as being close to 1 million people.
To ensure the future supply of ICT specialists, more efforts are
needed to increase the volume of training and research in this
Skilled workers are critical to ensuring economic
and social progress. Europe should invest more in skills development
and retraining, including in that of highly skilled specialists.
Most Member States are only starting the process of developing
comprehensive and coherent lifelong learning strategies. Insufficient
progress has been made in setting lifelong learning national targets
as laid down in the Employment Guidelines. If the EU is to meet
the challenges of the knowledge society, the estimated 10 per
cent of the adult population currently participating in further
education and training needs to be increased significantly. This
figure needs to be doubled by 2005 to approach US levels. Nevertheless,
the experience of the US shows that the knowledge society is creating
jobs across a range of economic sectors and skill levels. Education
and training and life-long learning strategies also need to focus
on the skill needs of those who may not be able to participate
in traditional further education and training.
The question must also be asked as to how skills
needs can be better anticipated so that education and training
systems can respond pro-actively to rapidly changing labour market
conditions. To take but one example, if life sciences are the
growth sector of the future, enough people should be trained now
to avoid skills bottlenecks later.
As the data and trends discussed above show,
the new mobility will also tend to be two-way mobility between
different industrial and service centres. An example is the case
of Irelanda Member State currently exhibiting high mobility
levels. It is predicted that in the six years to 2006, Ireland
can expect well over 300,000 immigrants, filling about 75 per
cent of the job vacanciesincluding jobs vacated by an outflow
of more than 100,000 emigrants.
4. BARRIERS TO
There is an important set of remaining barriers
inhibiting mobility of workers within the Internal Market and
inhibiting the effective and rapid development of the emerging
new European labour markets.
The conventional wisdom is that, due to linguistic
differences, the EU cannot expect to have increased levels of
But survey and other evidence
demonstrates that there is a wide range of other barriers, in
addition to language, inhibiting mobility in the EU which can
These barriers can be grouped as follows:
4.1 Social, Cultural and Linguistic
Language barriers remain even if they may be
declining in importance with improved language skills (particularly
among younger generations) and with growing dual language regimes
at work, (commonly English and the national language), but other
barriers are increasing.
Mobility frequently does not just concern an
individual but a family unit, which often has to cope with considerable
obstacles when contemplating a move. Where both spouses are workingdual
career familiesthen both must be able to find suitable
work in the new location, and barriers may vary according to job
type and skills, especially if entry to certain professions remains
restricted. Housing and information on housing is a barrier both
within and across countries. In some Member States, rigidities
in the housing market due to high taxes on property transactions
and discretionary planning approval by public authorities act
as a constraint on labour mobility. Moving children between educational
systems requires both good and reliable information, and sufficient
openness and flexibility between the systems, so that mobility
is not damaging to their prospects.
4.2 Economic (Pensions, tax and benefit systemsportability
and accumulation of rightsWages)
Tax and benefits systems do not need to be either
integrated or harmonised to ensure effective mobility, but they
do need to be compatible and well co-ordinated. Complexity, lack
of compatibility and lack of transparency can create both administrative
hurdles and financial concerns and costs, which inhibit mobility.
In most Member States, there remains much scope for review of
unemployment benefit systems, so that these provide efficient
unemployment insurance without unduly reducing incentives to seek
In many instances workers and/or employers cannot
get tax relief for pension contributions paid to pension institutions
located in another Member State, whereas pension contributions
paid to domestic institutions would have been tax deductible.
This hinders workers' labour mobility, and prohibits employers
with establishments in different Member States from centralising
their European pension provision.
A lack of portability of supplementary and private
pensions, or the difficulty to accumulate simply the financial
value of the acquired pension rights, and of health benefits,
also creates both administrative and financial barriersfor
workers and for businesses.
In several Member States, the failure of wage
developments to reflect local productivity and labour market conditions
is linked with labour mobility issues. The resultant high regional
unemployment may provide an incentive for unemployed people to
move (although they are not always able to meet the costs of doing
sorelocation costs for the employed are a barrier too)
since firms have little incentive to locate in regions where wages
are high compared to productivity. On the other hand, highly skilled
workers are also likely to find better opportunities in other
regions. The failure to establish flexible wages in higher education
is one of the factors in the external brain drain.
4.3 Skills and Qualifications
The gaps in the recognition of professional,
academic and vocational qualifications from another Member State
is a particular obstacle to people working in Europe. This is
also the case with respect to qualifications obtained outside
the EU. Guarantees limited to general principles, insufficient
flexibility for temporary service provision, lack of transparency,
and sometimes prolonged procedures for professional recognition
mean that processes are dissuasive in character and can block
or delay free movement in practice.
Means need to be found to extend the scope for
more automatic recognition within the existing systems. At the
same time, the rules of the General System and directives on individual
professions can be consolidated and a more flexible overall framework
provided for EU enlargement.
General rules guaranteeing professional recognition
based on a minimum co-ordination of education and training are
also no longer sustainable in their present form. Means are needed
to ensure greater adaptability to today's faster evolving, more
technological and increasingly health and safety conscious environment.
Greater flexibility can provide for more widespread automatic
In the field of non-regulated professions, where
there are no legal barriers, practical obstacles remain. These
obstacles need to be identified and removed according to a strict
time-table. One such obstacle is the difficulty of transferring
vocational qualifications from one Member State to another. In
this context, transparency of qualifications should be further
At the same time, given the increasing pace
of change in skills needs, it becomes necessary to develop effective
and flexible ways to recognise skills acquired outside formal
education and training systems, i.e. at work, at home, during
leisure timeincluding basic and intermediate skills. Action
should be all-inclusive and extend to removing barriers for all.
4.4 Accessibility and transparency of economic
and social information
Informational barriers are widespread and important.
They include: lack of adequate information on European labour
markets and the European jobs pool (for both job seekers and businesses);
lack of transparency in comparing wages and conditions (a situation
which will be helped by the complete transfer from national currencies
to the euro in 2002); lack of information on skills and learning
opportunities; difficulties in accessing information on legal
rights; and difficulties in locating comprehensive and accessible
information in key non-work areas (housing, education, etc.).
4.5 Remove barriers within the Internal Market
There are also other, more subtle and indirect,
barriers to mobility and free movement that arise from barriers
and fragmentation in product and service markets. Existing barriers
discourage innovation, reduce consumer choices and slow down overall
economic growth. The price is fewer jobs. The Internal Market
in services is still fragmented. Yet it accounts for two-thirds
of total employment, and for all new employment growth. Since,
with technological advances, many services can now be provided
at a distance, this fragmentation is causing distortions and may,
indirectly, encourage movements of jobs outside the Union, or
the development of irregular work within.
5. THE EXISTING
The Amsterdam Treaty committed the Member States,
in its Employment Title, to develop a skilled and adaptable workforce.
To implement this commitment the European Employment Strategy
lays down the framework within which the labour markets should
be reformed Union-wide to promote more and better jobs, tackle
labour shortages and skills gaps, and provide access for all to
the world of work.
The EU has successfully achieved good levels
of economic growth over recent years and the benefits of the impact
of the Internal Market are undeniable. The development of modern,
highly skilled European labour markets is vital if the Union is
to maximise the benefits and potential of the Internal Market.
Removing barriers to the modernisation of labour markets must
be complementary to and work with the integration of product,
services and capital markets. Removal of barriers and modernisation
in all these markets is vital if the aims of building full employment
in a dynamic and competitive knowledge economy and the continued
growth of the Internal Market are to be reached.
The Treaty also lays down, as a general and
fundamental rule, the freedom of movement of workers who are nationals
of a Member State.
Specifically, workers of the Member States have
a right to take up employment in any other Member State, with
certain exceptionsnotably relating to the public sectorbut
which have been progressively reduced.
Migrant workers, so defined, are guaranteed
equal treatment with the workers in the host State. A Community
system is in place intended to ensure that persons moving within
the Union do not suffer disadvantages in their social security
The Treaty also ensures the freedom of establishment,
including the right to take-up self-employment and to set up and
manage businesses in another Member State.
The Amsterdam Treaty requires the Council to
adopt by 2004 measures defining the rights and conditions under
which nationals of third countries who are legally resident in
a Member State may reside in other Member States.
In order to facilitate the exercise of the Treaty
rights, a series of Regulations and Directives have been adopted,
which serve to guarantee rights of geographical and occupational
mobility, and to ensure social integration in the host country
for workers and members of their families.
Existing rights to free movement are not, however,
generally sufficient. In order for qualified people to achieve
genuine free movement in regulated areas, their qualifications
must be recognised by other Member States. Initially the Community
sought to establish minimum education and training standards as
a basis for automatic recognition of diplomas. By the end of the
1980s, this had progressed towards a process of conditional recognition
which was dependent on a variety of education, training and professional
structures or bodies. This system has been extended over the years
and will soon be comprehensive in its coverage. Attention now
needs to focus on the rationalisation and consolidation of what
has been achieved and increased flexibility to maximise the potential
of the overall system. Over-burdensome consultation procedures,
increased administrative co-operation, greater transparency and
accessibility as well as improved conditions for temporary service
provision together with more specific and effective guarantees
of quality standards and automatic recognition all need to be
In response to continuing legal difficulties
and obstacles in the employment context, the Commission presented
an Action Plan at the end of 1997
which included a number of proposals designed to make it easier
and more attractive for workers, job seekers and trainees to make
use of their right to free movement. The work of the High Level
Panel on the free movement of persons made a substantial contribution
to the development of this action plan.
In the field of social security co-ordination,
proposals were also made that could give more chances for job
seekers to look for work in another Member State without losing
entitlement to unemployment benefits, to extend its scope to third-country
nationals, and to simplify the co-ordinations system.
Both proposals remain before the Council and
European Parliament and greater efforts are required to see these
proposals through to adoption.
The Commission also made, at the end of 2000,
a proposal on the harmonisation of the rules applying to funded
pension schemes whose early adoption would greatly facilitate
In addition the adoption by the Council of the
two proposed Directives on the detachment of third country nationals
by service providers within the EU should provide additional guarantees
of free movement. Adoption is expected in 2002.
Following the request of the Lisbon European
Council to take appropriate steps in order to remove obstacles
to the mobility of Researchers, the Commission has set up a High-Level
Expert Group on Improving Mobility of Researchers. The Commission
has also significantly increased the incentives for the mobility
of researchers within the Framework Programme 2002-06.
The Commission has also proposed a Recommendation
of the Council and of the European Parliament on mobility of students,
trainees, young volunteers, teachers and trainers, whose adoption
is planned for May 2001. In addition, the Nice European Council
endorsed a Mobility Action Plan which contains a series of measures
to be taken at European and, particularly, at Member State level.
In order to tackle the remaining problems of
free movement of workers specifically in the public sector, the
Commission will also submit a Communication in 2002.
At the same time as working to transform the
Treaty rights into a reality of daily life, the EU has sought
to increase the transparency of the EU labour marketnotably
by the establishment of the EURES network system which provides
information and advice support for migrant workers through the
public employment services and a Europe-wide service for advertising
job vacancies and, shortly, an online CV service. It will be strengthened
with a new legal base by 2002.
In terms of increasing transparency of vocational
qualifications and skills a number of initiatives have been taken.
This includes: the Europass-Training instrument, the delivery
of a certificate supplement based on a European format
describing the qualifications acquired, the establishment of national
reference centres responsible for providing information on
national vocational qualifications, the common European CV format.
The establishment by 2010 of a European Higher
and the launching of the European Research Area also aim at facilitating
the mobility and employability of people within Europe and the
competitiveness of the EU. While various Community instruments
are available to facilitate labour mobility and to promote a genuinely
European labour market, many of the key policies relevant to skills
development and labour mobility remain national competences. In
this context, existing instruments of policy co-ordination at
Community level already play an important role. The 2001 Employment
Guidelines and the 2000 Broad Economic Policy Guidelines both
call on Member States to enhance labour mobility and to facilitate
access to labour market training, education and life-long learning.
Building on the conclusions of the Lisbon European
Council and the "e.learning: designing tomorrow's education"
initiative, the Commission intends to adopt an e.learning action
plan in March 2001 to mobilise all relevant Community programmes
and instruments to accelerate the implementation of the e.learning
initiative, in particular to address the ICT skills gap and to
promote digital literacy for all in Europe.
The eEurope Action Plan, adopted by the Feira
European Council in June 2000, has the objective of bringing every
European citizen, home, school, business and administration on-line.
The Internet can provide quick access to recruitment information
irrespective of location; it can provide access to economic and
social information across the EU, and improve its transparency;
it serves as a force in the removal of barriers within the internal
market (especially in the services sector); it makes "virtual
mobility" a realistic option. eEurope will therefore provide
an important contribution to enhancing the mobility of the European
While better use can be made of the existing
labour force, it is already the case that in some sectors (e.g.
IT, health services), Member States, unable to find candidates
within the EU, have already begun to recruit from third countries.
Some other sectors (e.g. agriculture) depend to a large extent
on seasonal workers coming from outside the Union. The recent
Commission Communication on a Community Immigration Policy
suggested that procedures for the admission of economic migrants
from third countries should now be developed as an additional
response to labour market shortages, accompanied by further efforts
to combat irregular work by migrants. As agreed by the European
Council in Tampere this process should be incorporated into a
European framework to ensure equal treatment for third country
6. 2005: OPEN
In the Commission's contribution to the Spring
European Council (Stockholm 2001), key elements of a strategy
to promote the development of new European labour markets were
laid out. This Communication builds on that approach, bringing
together these key elements and proposing a small number of additional
policy actions, together with the completion of a number of actions
already launched. All these actions are located within existing
The overall strategy proposed has two main stages:
The first stage is the implementation
and completion of a first set of key policy actions.
The second stagerecognising
that we do not have full information or analysis on the emerging
new labour marketsis based on the establishment of a Skills
and Mobility Task force.
On the basis of the work of this Task Force,
the Commission would propose an action plan to the 2002 Spring
Council, which would set out a second set of policy actions necessary
to meet the overall policy goals by 2005 of:
Removing the main remaining barriers
to the development of European labour markets.
Ensuring that the new European labour
markets are attractive, efficient, open to all, with access for
Ensuring the effective development
and utilisation of the potential European workforce, especially
for effective matching of skills supply and demand. Developing
the skills levels of the potential workforce through lifelong
Maximise the potential of the Internal
Market by ensuring a harmonious development between the integration
of product and capital markets, and a modern highly-skilled European
6.1 Stage One: The First Set of Policy Actions
The proposed policy actions can be grouped under
three main headings: skills, mobility, and information. Some involve
initiatives to be taken by the Commission. Some involve proposals
and suggestions to the Council and the European Parliamentboth
in the context of the Stockholm Summit and beyond. The Commission
urges the Council and Parliament to make rapid progress on pending
proposals which would contribute significantly to skills development
6.1.1. Skills Barriers and Tackling the
Professional Recognition: the
Commission will present in 2002 proposals for a more uniform,
transparent and flexible regime of professional recognition based
on the existing General System, including ways of promoting more
widespread automatic recognition.
Skills Acquired at Work: Facilitate
the recognition of skills acquired at work, building on numerous
initiatives taken within sectors or companies to support transnational
qualifications schemes and on examples such as the European Computer
Driving Licence. The Commission should identify a small number
of key areas for further development and support exchanges of
experience in this field.
Lifelong Learning Action Plan:
building on the Lisbon agenda and on the debate launched by
the Commission's "Memorandum on lifelong learning",
the Commission will prepare an action plan in time for the Spring
European Council in 2002 to ensure that lifelong learning becomes
a reality for all citizens and that workers can fully benefit
from it in the context of the European Employment Strategy. This
should help identify the basic skills essential for mobility,
facilitate the recognition of skills acquired outside formal systems,
and increase investment in human resources.
Best practice in Education and
Training Systems: based on the adoption of the report from
the Education Council to the European Council on "Concrete
future objectives of education and training systems", the
Commission will, in co-operation with the Member States, develop
an open method of co-ordination that facilitates the exchange
of best practices in areas central for the development of the
education and training systems (Quality and effectiveness, Access
to education and training of all, opening up educational systems
to the wider world).
6.1.2. Removing Barriers to Mobility
Implement the Commission's comprehensive
strategy to remove barriers to services. This will have a
direct impact on the mobility of service providers enabling them
to develop a foothold in other markets.
Elimination of Obstacles to the
Cross-border Provision of Supplementary Pensions: the Commission
will present a Communication in March 2001 on these obstacles
where caused by tax systems.
Portability of Supplementary Pensions:
the Commission will present a proposal on portability before
the end of 2001. The Commission also made, at the end of 2000,
a proposal on the harmonisation of the rules applying to funded
pension schemes whose early adoption would greatly facilitate
Mobility of Researchers, Students,
Trainers and Teachers:
The Council and the European
Parliament should swiftly adopt the Recommendation on mobility
of students, persons undergoing training, young volunteers, teachers
and trainers, and in parallel Member States should implement the
Mobility Action Plan. Moreover, existing European programmes like
SOCRATES and LEONARDO DA VINCI should be reinforced to allow higher
participation and to give better opportunities to young people
from different socio-economic backgrounds.
On the basis of the work of the
High-Level Expert Group, the Commission will present a strategy
for the mobility of researchers in 2001.
Modernising Social Security for
Migrant Workers: the Council and the European Parliament should
adopt pending proposals in this area.
Mobility of third country nationals:
the Council, on the basis of Commission proposals should set
out the criteria and the conditions under which, like Community
nationals and their families, third country nationals could be
allowed to settle and work in any Member State of the Union taking
account of the consequences for social equilibrium and the labour
market. Ways need to be found to get around the blockage in the
Council on the two proposed Directives on the detachment of third
country nationals within the EU so that additional guarantees
of free movement can be obtained in 2002.
6.1.3. Improving Information and Transparency
One-stop European Mobility Information
Site: the Commission to produce before the end of 2001 a study
on the feasibility of establishing a one-stop European mobility
information site, working with national and local governments,
employment services and other relevant actors. The site would
network and develop information from Community and national sources
to provide comprehensive and easily accessible information to
citizens on key aspects of jobs, mobility and learning opportunities
in Europe. This should include the setting up of a Europe-wide
jobs and learning database (built upon the experience of existing
EURES network) as called for in Lisbon and as included in the
Employment strategy. The new site would complement already existing
information on the "Dialogue with Citizens" site, which
will be further expanded. It will also comprise information pertinent
to researchers, including international vacancies and national
and Community-level mobility programmes.
Mobility Information Campaign:
the Commission to run an information campaign, in co-operation
with the social partners and Member States, making full use of
existing and familiar instruments, such as the EURES and Dialogue
with Citizens and Business, targeted at employers and workers
on the key dimensions, opportunities and possibilities of the
Internal Market and the European labour market.
Professional recognition: the
Commission will adopt a priority action, building on existing
information and communications networks, as well as on current
work on improving transparency of qualifications, to ensure that
citizens can rely on a more comprehensive service providing information
and advice specific to their individual interests and rights.
6.2 Stage Two; High-level Skills and Mobility
Taskforce and 2002 Action Plan
In its Report to the Spring European Council
2001, the Commission envisages the creation of a high-level Skills
and Mobility Taskforce. Given the pace of development of globalisation,
and of the knowledge-economy together with social and demographic
change, more information and analysis is needed to underpin understanding
of the characteristics and drivers of the new European labour
markets. More information and data is necessary on individual
and business needs and demands and on the operation of these markets.
Such analysis and increased understandingto be investigated
by the Taskforcewill lay a sound foundation for further
necessary policy developments.
On the basis of the evidence and analysis put
forward in this Communication, the principal goals and mandate
of the Skills and Mobility Taskforce should be:
To identify the main drivers and
characteristics of the new European labour markets, with a particular
focus on skills (supply, demand, skill gaps at various levels
(national, regional, sectoral, occupational), lifelong learning)
and mobility, including the role of third country nationals. Particular
importance will be attached on the one hand to the ICT skills
and on the other hand to the basic and intermediate skills necessary
for participation in the new economy.
To identify the main barriers to
the further development of the European labour markets, in particular
in the areas of skills and mobility, and to review and exploit
any good practice experience elsewhere, most notably in the US.
Identify the measures needed to create in Europe an attractive
labour market place for the knowledge economy.
To report with a set of policy initiatives
required to ensure these markets are open to all, with access
for all by 2005 and recommendations for implementation at European
and national levels.
Following the European Council in Stockholm,
the Taskforce will be established by the Commission, drawing on
expertise from top leaders of European business, top labour market
and education experts, the social partners, and on the relevant
findings of EU research in this field. The Taskforce would be
established in April 2001, to report back to the Commission by
December 2001. On the basis of the Taskforce report, the Commission
would, as proposed in its Report to the Spring European Council
2001, put forward an Action Plan to the Spring Council 2002. This
Action Plan will propose a set of further policy initiatives and
recommendations to ensure that by 2005, the new European labour
markets are open to all, with access for all.
This Communication builds on the contribution
of the European Commission to the Spring European Council 2001.
It analyses the drivers, characteristics and barriers to the emerging
new European labour market. It puts forward a two-stage policy
initiativewithin existing policy processesto ensure
that the new European labour markets by 2005 are open to all,
with access for all.
The drivers of globalisation, technological
change and European integration are such that some part of the
workforce will need to be mobile. It is essential to focus on
the skills development and mobility needs of all individuals,
not just the highly skilled, in order to ensure that mobility
promotes regional convergence. All these trends were recognised,
and taken into account, in the EU's Lisbon strategy for promoting
full employment in a competitive, dynamic knowledge-based economy.
Facilitating the development of the emerging new European labour
markets, alongside the modernisation of national labour markets,
can contribute to ensuring adaptable, dynamic labour markets which
can underpin both the Lisbon strategy as well as the successful
operation of the Internal Market and the successful operation
of the euroand at the same time give new opportunities
to the EU's citizens.
Integrated policy responses will be needed to
address problems of mobility and imbalances generally. Such approaches
must include the strengthening of education, skills and lifelong
learning policies; substantially increased investment in human
resources; increased participation rates in the labour market;
and effective operation and modernisation of labour markets to
match supply and demand.
Raising skills at all levelsbasic, intermediate,
and highacross the whole workforce is central to building
the competitive knowledge-based economy in the EU. Making effective
use of the potential offered by the new European labour marketsby
removing barriers, increasing information, improving accesscan
contribute substantially, by resolving many of the mis-match problem
that these skills gaps reflect.
Individuals and business want to
exercise their right to participate in European labour markets,
but they do not expect to have to overcome difficult constraints
and barriers in doing so. The existence of the legal right, and
a number of important policy initiatives already taken, have not
been sufficient to remove important barriers, and so to meet the
aspirations of European citizens.
26 The Commission's Communication of 7 February, 2001,
on realising the European Union's potential: consolidating and
extending the Lisbon Strategy. Back
This Communication does not in any way pre-judge the position
to be taken in the accession negotiations with the candidate countries
on freedom of movement of labour. Back
Employment in Europe 1997. Back
An overview of Labor Mobility in the United States, Francis W
Horvath Jr. US Bureau of Labor Statistics-unpublished paper presented
to joint EU/US workshop. Back
Employment in Europe 1997. Back
Report on "Migration trends in Europe" undertaken for
DG EMPL (EURES) by MKW Wirtschaftsforschungs, Empirica Delasasse
and EconomiX, July 2000. Back
Study by International Data corporation, 2000. Back
Report of the Irish Inter-Departmental/Agency Group on Immigration
Policy, 2000 (reported in Irish Times, 24/1/2001. Back
"Obstacles to cross-border mobility within the EU; the role
of EURES" 2000. Back
Article 63(4). Back
COM (1997) 586 of 12.11.1997. Back
Report of the High level Panel chaired by Mrs S. Veil, presented
to the Commission on 18 March 1997. Back
Commission's Social Policy Agenda for 2000-2005-28/06/2000. Back
As envisaged by Ministries of Education from 29 Countries in
the 1999 "Bologna declaration". Back
COM(2000)757 of 22/11/2000. Back