Fostering employment is essential for the recovery. Csaba Őry MEP

Today the Strasbourg plenary session of the European Parliament adopted the Őry Report on the 2010 Employment Guidelines for the Member States by an overwhelming majority. "In order to overcome the economic crisis and increase employment levels in Europe, coherent and decisive action should be taken by the Member States," said Csaba Őry MEP. "With this Report the Parliament did its utmost to provide a coherent and effective text. Now it's high time for the Belgian Presidency to take on board our suggestions - as many as possible before the final vote on the Employment Guidelines in October", added the Rapporteur, who is also the EPP Group Coordinator in the Employment Committee.

The Őry Report follows, in broad terms, the European Commission's initial proposal, which was presented as part of the Integrated Guidelines package in April 2010, in support of the implementation of the future EU 2020 Strategy on jobs and growth. However, there were several new aspects introduced by the Rapporteur. In order to have a more coherent and more effective text, Őry merged the two initial guidelines of the Commission concerning education and training, and he also introduced a new guideline on cohesion policy.

According to the Rapporteur, in view of the current economic and financial crisis and of the long-term challenges faced by European societies, employment policy has a very important role to play. "The European Union has to work more and better, if we want to survive the crisis and we want to stay competitive with the developed or emerging regions of the world like China, South-eastern Asia, South America or the United States," concluded the Rapporteur. Őry therefore endorses proposals to take decisive action in order to increase the employment levels of European men and women, but he also believes that this objective can only be achieved if special attention is paid by the Member States to fostering mobility and the employment of youth, the elderly, people with disabilities and women. The Member States should also set several sub-targets in this context, for example increasing the share of 15 to 24 year-old women and men in education, training or employment to at least 90%, with the aim of reaching those sub-targets by 2014.

In addition, adequate use of flexicurity principles and the promotion of quality education and life-long learning are also of the utmost importance. Member States should take into consideration the growing number of new forms of work and atypical employment contracts, and should set an appropriate legislative framework for this area. Furthermore, ensuring the availability of a skilled labour force has to be accompanied by intensified investment in job creation, where SMEs have an extremely important role to play. Őry also emphasised in his Report the importance of the fight against poverty, particularly child poverty – which is also a priority of the current Belgian and the future Hungarian Presidencies. In the debate, the Rapporteur especially welcomed the statement of the Belgian Presidency on the importance of good governance and he also called for stricter monitoring.

The Council will vote on the Guidelines in October 2010, after having received and negotiated the European Parliament's opinion.