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European labour market policy

The main objective of the European employment strategy established in 1997 is the creation of more and better jobs in the entire EU. Since 2005, the strategy has been integrated into the European growth strategy.

The Europe 2020 growth strategy

The European Commission presented the current Europe 2020 growth strategy on 3 March 2010.

Three key elements are realised via specific measures at EU level and at the level of the Member States:

  • Intelligent growth (the promotion of knowledge, innovation and education as well as a digital society, and
  • sustainable growth (more resource-efficient production with a simultaneous increase in competitivity;
  • inclusive growth (increase of the employment rate, skills, and combating poverty).

The Member States report on the measures they have taken and if necessary receive recommendations from the Council on the basis of the annual audit by the Commission. 

European employment strategy

The European employment strategy is based on an annual programme consisting of planning, support, monitoring and adaptation in order to coordinate the national policies and measures of the Member States to combat unemployment. 

The European employment strategy is based on four instruments:

  • Guidelines for employment policy measures of the Member States
  • National reform programmes of the individual countries
  • The annual growth report of the Commission and a joint employment report
  • Recommendations of the Council

Austria’s current National Reform Programme can be viewed on the website of the Federal Chancellery.   

The European Semester

The European Semester for the coordination of economic policy was introduced in 2011 as part of the Europe 2020 strategy. Its goal is to examine national budget and reform proposals before they are adopted by the national parliaments. The main objective of the European Semester is to ensure national budget discipline and a more productive economy. 

As part of the European Semester, progress in the following three areas is examined:

  • Macro-economic factors
  • Growth-promoting structural reforms (coordination of the themes)
  • Public finances (stricter fiscal monitoring)

The European Semester acts on a six-monthly basis, hence the name. Important points are the presentation of the Annual Growth Survey, taking stock of the progress achieved, the presentation of the stability and convergence programmes (medium-term budget strategy) of the Member States as well as their national reform programmes. 

On the basis of the Commission’s assessment, the June Council meeting gives the Member States country-specific recommendations. If the latter are not implemented punctually, political warnings can follow. In the case of excessive imbalances, incentives can be given and sanctions issued.

There is more information on the current results of the European Semester on the website of the European Commission.

Last update: 8 November 2019