In a new communication, the Commission has made recommendations to member states on how marginalised people can be re-integrated into the labour market in order to meet the Lisbon target of eradicating poverty.
As part of the Lisbon agenda, the EU has set itself the target of eradicating poverty by 2010. However, it is clear that this objective will be almost impossible to achieve. According to the Commission:
- 16% of Europe’s population is at risk of financial poverty;
- 20% live in sub-standard housing;
- 10% live in households where nobody works;
- close to 4% of the workforce are long-term unemployed, and;
- more than 15% of pupils leave school prior to obtaining any qualification
As a result, an important part of Europe’s population is marginalised in that they are, due to their situation, deprived of access to labour markets. Addressing journalists in Brussels, Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimír Špidla called this situation “absolutely unacceptable”.
Following a consultation in 2006, the Commission proposed, on 17 October 2007, a range of active inclusion policies, which aim at enabling marginalised people to build skills, realise their potential, integrate into labour markets and raise their income.
Špidla explained: “Our approach combines three key elements:
- Adapted assistance for income;
- Adaptation to the labour market, which promotes the active inclusion of all, and;
- High-quality social services.”
The Commissioner added: “The difficulties encountered by people often have several dimensions to them, which is why we need to develop integrated services in order to meet needs in the field of employment, housing and health in particular. Whenever this is possible, the objective is to allow all those concerned to restore their autonomy to employment, and in order to realise this, we have to remove obstacles to acces to the labour market through active and preventative means, including early detection of needs, personalised assistance in the search for jobs, vocational training and guidance. And we have to make sure that work is more attractive in financial terms for job-seekers.”
The Communication has also opened a second-stage consultation with social partners, which will close on 8 Febraury 2008.