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The legal framework

September 26, 2016

EU employment policy comprises all EU policies contributing to the promotion of employment. Articles 145 - 150 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) serve as the legal framework for EU action in this field.

A judge’s gavel on a book

The process of coordinating employment strategies is governed by Article 148 TFEU: Based on the Joint Employment Report, the Council of the European Union and the European Commission analyse the employment situation in the EU Member States and adopt conclusions. On the basis of these conclusions, the Council, on a proposal from the Commission, draws up the employment guidelines. The Member States are called upon to align their employment policies with the guidelines and to take them into account in their national policies.

Along with the broad guidelines for economic policies, the employment guidelines serve as the basis for the country-specific recommendations and also set the stage for the legal grounding, extent and general direction of policy coordination at the European level.

On 5 October 2015, new guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States were adopted, replacing the initial guidelines adopted in 2010, which are designed to support the Europe 2020 strategy. Policy measures now revolve around the implementation of the guidelines.

The current guidelines are designed to foster the Europe 2020 strategy within the framework of the new economic and fiscal strategy consisting of investments, structural reforms and responsible fiscal policies. Furthermore, the guidelines aim to make a contribution to full employment and social progress, which are goals enshrined in the EU treaties, and to promote the integration of economic, fiscal, social and employment policies.

Theses are the four employment guidelines:

  • Guideline 5: Boosting demand for labour
  • Guideline 6: Enhancing labour supply, skills and competences
  • Guideline 7: Enhancing the functioning of labour markets
  • Guideline 8: Fostering social inclusion, combatting poverty and promoting equal opportunities