Commission reports give a positive assessment of employment in the EU member states, but challenges remain to improve social inclusion.
According to the Commission’s Joint Employment Report, published on 19 February 2007, “unemployment in the EU-25 fell from 9.1% in 2004 to 8.8% in 2005 and employment rose by 0.8% in 2005 – the largest increase since 2001.
However, the report also states that “a further 22 million new jobs must still be created to reach the EU’s 2010 employment targets”.
The document also points to an upward investment in education and skills, but criticises that policies to improve adaptability are lagging behind.
The report on employment is complemented by the Joint Report on Social Protection and Social Inclusion. The report underlines the “need for progress in the areas of child poverty, active inclusion, the modernisation of pension provision and access to healthcare”.
The report states that in 2004, 16% of EU citizens lived at a poverty level defined as 60% of their country’s average income, which might keep them from fully participating in society. The poverty rate ranged from 9-10% in Sweden and the Czech Republic to 21% in Lithuania and Poland.