On 10 October 2019, MEPs approved the report by Yana Toom (Renew Europe, EE) on employment and social policy of the euro
area, in the presence of Commissioner Marianne Thyssen. It was Thyssen’s last appearance
as Commissioner in the European Parliament. She used this opportunity to thank
the European Commission and the European Parliament for their constructive work
and expressed her hope that the road to a social Europe would continue.
The report (see also article Aug
2019) states that labour market conditions in the euro area have improved
and that the employment rate has reached a new record high of 240.7 million
people in work. However, employment rates continue to vary widely between
Member States, regions and population groups, which calls for more work to be
done at European level.
Introduction of a European minimum wage
MEPs consider quality employment to be an
important factor in the fight against poverty and social exclusion, which
threatens one in five Europeans. Member States are being called upon to take
action to ensure that all people can afford a decent life. The European
Commission has been asked to put forward a legal instrument to ensure that all
workers receive an adequate minimum wage.
Calls for European unemployment benefit reinsurance
Despite favourable developments in the
labour market and the economy, real wage growth remains below expected levels.
The European Commission is called upon to present a proposal for a European
unemployment benefit reinsurance system in order to protect citizens and reduce
pressure on public finances in the event of economic shocks. A new financial
instrument to combat long-term unemployment needs to be developed to provide
financial support for initiatives and projects in regions with above-average
Implementation of country-specific recommendations
Almost one third of the country-specific
recommendations have not been implemented by the Member States. The Commission
is therefore urged to put pressure on Member States, irrespective of their euro
area membership, to implement the recommendations. Implementing forward-looking
reforms is crucial to strengthening the growth potential of the EU economy,
promoting social inclusion and improving the social rights and well-being of
all people in the Union.
Economic and social policy in unison
Finally, MEPs in the plenary debate believe
that the regulatory framework for the labour market in the Member States must
be simple and flexible in order to maintain and constantly improve global
competitiveness. We eagerly await the next steps of the European Commission.