Thursday, 4 September 2014

UKIP wouldn't like it

There is an EU-wide (plus some other continental countries) facility ("portal") for helping workers from areas of high unemployment to those where there is a shortage of their sort of skills. A review has found that labour mobility is not as high as anticipated. The Commission recommends that the portal should extend its links to include private and third-sector employment bureaux rather than restrict itself to government departments, like the UK's Department of Work and Pensions, among other proposals.  (My gloss on the pdf here.)

Some extracts:

the free movement of workers is considered as a key element in the development of a more integrated EU labour market which allows worker mobility from high unemployment areas to those characterised by labour shortages. It also contributes to finding the right skills for vacant positions and overcoming bottlenecks and mismatches in the labour market. But despite the social and economic benefits it generates, intra-EU labour mobility is still limited, with an annual mobility rate in the EU of 0.29 per cent, and only 3.1 per cent of the European labour force being economically active in another Member State. Surveys show, however, that there is a significant mobility potential within the EU, with 2.9 million EU citizens indicating firm intentions to move in the next 12 months.

Set up in 1993, EURES is a European network for co-operation between the Public Employment Services ('PES') of the EEA Member States (the EU countries plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein), on the one hand, and the European Commission, on the other, allowing the exchange of vacancies and employment applications (so-called 'clearance'). It comprises an internet portal and a network of employment advisers, and accounts for approximately 150 000 placements per year.


The general objective of this initiative is to move further towards an integrated European labour market.
This is translated into the following specific objectives which address the five principal shortcomings identified above:
1. 'To achieve on the EURES portal a nearly complete supply of job vacancies, with job seekers all over Europe having instant access to the same vacancies, in combination with an extensive pool of CVs available from which registered employers can recruit;
2. To enable the EURES portal to carry out a good automated matching between job vacancies, job
applications and CVs, translating in all EU languages and understanding skills, competences, occupations and qualifications acquired at national level;
3. To make available basic information on the EURES network throughout the Union to any job seeker or employer seeking client services for recruitment and to consistently offer any person interested access to the EURES network;
4. To assist any such person interested with matching, placement and recruitment through the EURES network;
5. To support the functioning of the EURES network through information exchange on national labour shortages and surpluses and the co-ordination of actions across Member States.

Notwithstanding the European Parliament's thinking that the EC's work was done on the back of a fag-packet (my interpretation of their conclusions), anything that can reduce the imbalances of labour supply and demand across Europe must be a good thing. Even looking at it selfishly from the UK's point of view, while we are a net importer of labour at present, that has not been the situation in the past and will probably not hold true when the continental EU recovery is under way.

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