4th PES BOARD Meeting Press conference messages
Foster collaboration to better respond to labour market challenges in Europe
Luxembourg, 14 December 2015
During their 4th Board meeting, which took place in Luxembourg on 14-15 December 2015 under the auspices of the Luxembourg Presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Heads of European Public Employment Services (PES) discussed and exchanged good practice on how to enhance labour market function. In view of current events, the PES Board has put the refugees situation at the top of its agenda. Another thematic priority is the discussion on how to tackle long-term unemployment and to better help long-term unemployed return to work.
“The refugee crisis is a new issue we have to cope with in Europe“, stated Frank-J.Weise, Chair of the PES Network, today in Luxembourg. „We want to exchange ideas and approaches from different countries on how to integrate refugees into the labour market. On the other hand, we won`t forget other stakeholders that need our support, too. We still have to tackle youth unemployment and long-term unemployment in many countries in Europe. And finally, we want to support employers to find skilled workers for their companies. All these goals are important to us – we won`t focus on only one aim.“
Stefan Olsson, Director in DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion of the European Commission underlined that "public employment services are the key actors in helping Europe's unemployed citizens back into work. They will be at the forefront in implementing the recently adopted Council Recommendation on Long-term Unemployment. This recommendation aims to address a problem of grave concern, concerning more than 11 million long-term unemployed persons in the EU, and the PES role is critical. Furthermore, the PES will be vital in finding solutions to the refugee situation we face today, and the European Network of Public Employment Services can play a crucial role in facilitating this.”
In his concluding statement, Nicolas Schmit, the Luxembourg Minister of Labour, Employment and the Social and Solidary Economy, presented the results of the Luxembourg Presidency in terms of employment and social policy. A definitive highlight was the agreement on the regulation on a European network of Employment Services (EURES) and the deal on the Commission’s proposal to establish a platform against undeclared work. Referring to Luxembourg’s initiative to invite several Maghreb Employment Ministers to discuss how to improve vocational training and to help young people find a job, Nicolas Schmit said that “Europe must also look a bit further – we have lots of problems here, but the problems of our neighbours are also our problems.“