The opinion stresses that long-term unemployment is unsustainable and calls for more demand-side measures supported through the integrated use of EU structural funds, recalling the importance of forecasting skills needs and matching them with labour market needs.
The CoR asks the Commission to support Member States' efforts to modernise their social protection systems, with a view to establishing a European long-term unemployment insurance scheme, and to review prioritisation of EU resources as part of the review of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020.
The CoR asks that the regional dimension of the problem and local and regional authorities' role in improving the efficiency of employment services are fully acknowledged.
On 19 April 2016 the CoR rapporteur was invited to present his opinion to the members of the EMPL committee of the European Parliament.
THE EUROPEAN COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- underlines the importance of tackling long-term unemployment so as to ensure the well-functioning of local economies; underlines that long-term unemployment is not sustainable and recalls the importance of forecasting skills needs and matching them with labour market needs;
- urges the European Commission to:
- distinguish between structural unemployment (for which each country must use its own resources or those granted under the ESF thematic objective "strengthening administrative capacity") and unemployment deriving from more intense and prolonged periods of recession that, by leading to significant increases in unemployment levels, would subject employment services to additional strain;
- support Member States in their efforts to modernise social protection systems, with a view to establishing a European long-term unemployment insurance scheme, on the basis of common economic and financial indicators;
- moreover, evaluate the priorities that are granted EU resources as part of the review of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020, in order both to continue action under the Youth Guarantee and to take more suitable action against long-term unemployment through extraordinary initiatives such as the creation of an ad hoc fund (an adult guarantee based on the model of the Youth Guarantee) to tackle long-term unemployment;
- points out the need to put greater emphasis on demand-side measures, as when the demand for labour stagnates it is difficult for an unemployed person to find work, even if they have an individualised training programme. In this respect, the Committee believes that it would be useful to give a greater boost towards integrating Structural Funds initiatives in order to strengthen demand for labour. The Member States should encourage integrated use of the funds, not least by simplifying them for SMEs and using the Performance Reserve; notes the need, moreover, to make any access to support for those in poverty contingent on accepting community service work, for a limited time-period and as a part of reintegration training pathway;
- asks therefore that the Commission's proposal for a recommendation take greater account of the regional dimension of the problem and calls on the Council to consider the key role that local and regional authorities can play in improving the efficiency of employment services.