Crisis over? The unemployment rate in the European Union is back to pre-crisis levels. February 2019 saw an EU-28 unemployment figure of 6.5%, below the figure of 6.8% registered immediately prior to the 2008 crisis and representing the lowest jobless rate since the EU first started reporting monthly unemployment statistics in January 2000. Euro area unemployment is slightly higher at 7.8%, yet still represents a significant improvement since the dark days of 2013, when overall joblessness reached a staggering 12%.
Europe shouldn’t be complacent. Some analysts argue we’re too focused on the quantity of jobs and aren’t paying enough attention to quality; many European endure precarious job security and stagnant wages. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate in some countries remains stubbornly high, and progress has been very slow compared to the United States, which went from an unemployment rate of 10% in 2009 to just 3.8% in March 2019.
What do our readers think? We had a comment from Cyril who wants to know what’s the best way to create jobs and tackle unemployment. He suggests either greater public investment, lower taxes, or a comprehensive reform of tax systems to benefits working and middle class households. What do MEPs think are the best ways to create jobs?
How would you help create jobs in Europe? We asked Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from all sides of the political spectrum to stake out their positions on this question, and it’s up to YOU to vote for the policies you favour. See what the different MEPs have to say, then vote at the bottom of this debate for the one you most agree with! Take part in the vote below and tell us who you support in the European Parliament!
What the EU needs is not only the creation of jobs, but the creation of permanent decent jobs with all labour rights fully safeguarded. And by decent jobs we mean what the ILO understands as decent, namely to guarantee job creation, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue as well as gender equality. We are very proud that in the Sylikiotis report on “working conditions and precarious employment” the parliament reintroduced the issue of decent jobs in the general employment discussion, and even reinforced it by highlighting that “ highlights that decent work should specifically provide:
– a living wage, also guaranteeing the right of freedom of association;
– collective agreements in line with Member States’ practices;
– workers’ participation in company matters in line with Member States’ practices;
– respect of collective bargaining;
– equal treatment of workers in the same workplace;
– workplace health and safety;
– social security protection for workers and their dependants;
– provisions on working and rest time;
– protection against dismissal;
– access to training and lifelong learning;
– support for work-life balance for all workers; stresses that to deliver on these rights it is also essential to improve the implementation of labour and social law
As a Member of the Left Group of the European Parliament (GUE/NGL) I of course support our proposals for long term public investments on crucial sectors of the real economy in order to sustainably create permanent decent jobs, especially for young people. This of course goes hand in hand with the end of the neoliberal austerity policies being imposed by the EU to its people. We need a stronger welfare state, to strengthen the purchasing power of the people in the EU, and create a safe investment environment through public investment (amongst others), in order for jobs to be created.
We in the European Parliament – and me as co-chair of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee in the Parliament – have created some priorities, such as the Youth Guarantee, which brings jobs for unemployed young people; the European Employment Services (EURES), the platform network of the labour market agencies of all EU countries; also, the European Social Fund (ESF); further, the mastering of digitalisation in the working world and in labour markets; and, last but not least, [encouraging the participation in the labour market] of the elder generation and women.