Agenda for jobs and workers’ skills

This initiative seeks to ensure that the objective of an employment rate of 75 % in Europe by 2020 is met. It provides for a series of key actions and support measures aimed at improving the functioning of labour markets, workers’ skills, the quality of work and working conditions, and at creating jobs, in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy.


Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions of 23 November 2010 – An agenda for new skills and jobs: A European contribution towards full employment [COM(2010) 682 final – Not published in the Official Journal].


The Commission establishes a flagship initiative in the area of participation in labour markets and vocational skills. In the context of the Europe 2020 strategy this initiative contributes to the joint efforts of the Member States aimed at increasing by 75 % the employment rate of women and men for the 20-64 years age group by 2020.

It is essential to meet this target in order to ensure the sustainability of the welfare systems, economic growth and public finances of EU countries.

Improving the functioning of labour markets

The effective implementation of the common principles of flexicurity contributes to the proper functioning of labour markets and the reduction of structural unemployment. The principles of flexicurity must be strengthened in order to reduce divisions in labour markets and to support their transition.

To this end, this initiative favours:

In addition, the Commission proposes to involve all stakeholders in order to monitor and manage flexicurity, particularly public and private employment and training services and civil society organisations.

Upgrading workers’ skills

Workers’ skills must be adapted to the changes in European society, particularly in the sectors of innovation, new technologies, the environment and health. Education and training systems must respond to these changes, cooperating with business and developing work-based learning.

In this context, the European Commission recommends a series of key actions:

These actions must be accompanied by an assessment of school curricula, the employability of students and the development of some professional sectors, as well as support for informal learning.

Improving the quality of work and working conditions

The quality of working conditions enables workers’ potential to be developed and business competitiveness to be enhanced.

The Commission therefore proposes to re-examine in particular:

The joint action taken by the Commission, Member States and social partners should support the fight against undeclared work and discrimination in the world of work.

Fostering job creation

National and European employment policies should take into account business needs. Such policies should be accompanied by measures to support entrepreneurship and the creation of innovative firms.

In order to create a job-friendly environment, the Commission proposes to adopt guiding principles to simplify administrative and legal procedures for hiring and firing, business creation and self-employment, to reduce non-wage labour costs, and combat informal or undeclared work.

Furthermore, measures should be adapted to support business creation and management, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that represent 99 % of European firms.

Last updated: 05.04.2011