Brussels, 07/03/2012

The European Union is living through the worst crisis of its history. After the financial

crisis burst in 2008, a deep crisis is shaking several European states. European countries are increasingly facing difficulties in finding resources, and in adopting economic policies and necessary reforms to underpin growth and employment while ensuring the sustainability of public finances and social protection systems.

The challenges facing Europe in the coming years are immense. With more than 23.5 million unemployed in the EU, the EU unemployment rate is at its highest since the early 1990s. Reaching the 75% employment rate target set in the Europe 2020 strategy will require the creation of 17.6 million new jobs.

Europe can only succeed if sound macro-economic policies are put in place. At the same time, resources must be invested as a priority in sustainable growth-enhancing strategies.

In order to create more and better jobs, Europe needs well-functioning labour markets and a labour force with the necessary qualifications. The appropriate framework conditions must be established to ensure employment opportunities for
all workers and to allow for the integration, retention and development of workers in European labour markets.