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C 293/70 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 13.10.

1999

Resolution of the Committee of the Regions on the European Employment Pact

(1999/C 293/14)

THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS,

having regard to the Bureau’s decision on 7 May 1999 to draw up a resolution on the subject and to
direct Commission 6 — Employment, Economic Policy, Single Market, Industry and SMEs — to carry out
the preparatory work;

having regard to the forthcoming European Council meeting on 3 and 4 June 1999 in Cologne, at which
the Presidency is to put forward a proposal for a European Employment Pact;

having regard to its earlier opinions on employment, viz.

‘The role of local and regional authorities in linking education and training establishments to
enterprises’ (1); ‘The proposal for a Council Decision on measures of financial assistance for innovative
and job-creating small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) — The growth and employment
initiative’ (2); ‘Forthcoming economic policy guidelines’ (3); the Communication from the Commission:
‘From guidelines to action: the National Action Plans for Employment’ and the Communication from
the Commission: ‘Proposal for guidelines for Member States’ employment policies in 1999’ (4); the
Communication from the Commission adapting and promoting the social dialogue at Community
level and the draft Council Decision amending Decision 70/532/EEC setting up the Standing
Committee on Employment in the European Communities (5);

having regard to the draft resolution prepared by Commission 6 on 11 May 1999 (Rapporteur:
Mr Henning Jensen);

whereas local and regional authorities in many Member States play a key role in shaping the environment
and conditions under which enterprises operate. They have an important function in supporting local
economic and industrial development by securing a favourable socio-economic climate which can attract
and promote the establishment and development of businesses;

whereas local and regional authorities are major players in providing education and training since they
can help bridge the gap between education/training establishments and enterprises and, through their
strategically well-placed position, foster greater partnership and dialogue between all relevant protagonists
at local and regional level in these two sectors;

whereas local and regional authorities play a crucial role in generating employment — both directly as
employees, and indirectly, through fostering a favourable business climate. They are major employers by
virtue of their involvement in the development of the local and regional economy and expertise in such
matters, their responsibilities (where appropriate) in the employment sector and their contribution
towards the promotion of social integration, based on their sound knowledge of the local situation;

whereas the Committee of the Regions has proposed an initiative called ‘Local Action for Employment 99’,
which places local and regional authorities in a position to promote the national employment action
plans;

whereas the Committee of the Regions and the local and regional authorities, and/or their organisations,
are involved in the implementation of instruments promoting and developing social dialogue at
Community level,

(1) CdR 346/96 fin — OJ C 116, 14.4.1997, p. 98.


(2) CdR 46/98 fin — OJ C 251, 10.8.1998, p. 41.
(3) CdR 110/98 fin — OJ C 51, 22.2.1999, p. 63.
(4) CdR 279/98 fin — OJ C 51, 22.2.1999, p. 59.
(5) CdR 343/98 fin — OJ C 93, 6.4.1999, p. 54.
13.10.1999 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 293/71

adopted the following resolution at its 29th plenary session on 2/3 June 1999 (the meeting of 2 June).

The Committee of the Regions 7. stresses that regional/local self-determination in employ-


ment matters is a prerequisite for efforts to tailor workforce
skills to the needs of local enterprises. This key condition
1. supports the Employment Pact’s primary aim, namely to for effective employment action brings home the above-
coordinate the Member States’ macro-economic policies mentioned need to involve regional and local authorities
and ensure friction-free interaction between the twin more closely in the framing of the national employment
aims of general growth and employment growth while action plans;
preserving price stability;

8. draws attention to the territorial employment pacts as


2. believes that it is important that national measures to an effectively-functioning model of local and regional
boost employment be backed up by a European Employ- partnerships and to the crucial role of local and regional
ment Pact. Improved coordination of the economic and authorities within these partnerships;
fiscal policies of the EU Member States, the harmonisation
of taxes on energy and capital dividends and the implemen-
tation of fair competition in respect of taxes would be 9. considers that the experiences of territorial employment
desirable. The requisite measures taken by the Member pacts and the new practices emerging from them should
States to solve the employment problems must be support- be genuinely taken into account when national action
ed and rounded out by the EU; plans for employment are drawn up;

3. supports the inclusion of the social partners in the Pact 10. stresses that territorial employment pacts provide oppor-
but regrets that the role of the local and regional authorities tunities for the coordinated use of employment policy
is not spelled out in contrast to the Commission’s recent instruments, including for example measures to create
Communication on Community policies in support of small business in new business areas where the markets
employment; are uncertain and risks for new enterprises therefore
specially high. These employment pacts also offer wide
scope for further action and for follow-up after the start-up
4. stresses that the implementation of measures connected phase;
with the European Employment Pact, as indicated therein,
must be compatible with the principle of solidarity and
respect for national labour market systems, including 11. points to the importance of EU programmes and Funds
collective bargaining agreements in the individual countries which aim to promote employment. Here the Structural
and differing wage-fixing arrangements; Funds , support for innovatory measures and the dove-
tailing of the various employment policy action areas at
local and regional level are particularly valuable;
5. highlights the key role played by regional bodies as both
players and employers in attaining the major objective of
promoting employment through practical implementation 12. underlines the importance of a particularly intensive drive
of a wide range of initiatives seeking to create sustainable to target the following groups;
jobs, which must be given top priority. In most cases it is
at regional level that employment promotion schemes, 1. young people and women,
especially those focusing on especially vulnerable groups,
are put into practice. This point is moreover borne out in
the previous COR opinions referred to above; 2. groups at risk of being pushed out of the labour
market,
6. insists that the municipalities and regions must have
the widest possible scope to plan and carry through 3. older workers,
employment measures in the most appropriate manner.
This should be done in conjunction with the social partners
and in keeping with the four pillars of the EU employment 4. low-skilled groups,
guidelines for 1999:

5. groups with other problems that aggravate unemploy-


• employability ment,

• entrepreneurship 6. refugees;

• businesses’ adaptability 13. points out that speedy action tailored specially to the
young unemployed and women can help significantly,
notably in preventing long-term unemployment and pro-
• equal opportunities; moting equal opportunities;
C 293/72 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 13.10.1999

14. highlights the importance of a special measure focusing sector to another, allowing older people to stay in work
on groups at risk of being pushed out of the labour market, longer, training, flexible working hours etc., should be
for instance as a result of poor health or inadequate carried out in a dialogue between employers and
education; employees;

15. stresses that the higher age group makes a valuable 18. considers that a special vocationally-oriented measure is
contribution, in economic terms and in terms of their needed to assist groups with physical and/or psychological
experience. Attention must be focused on schemes that problems that aggravate unemployment;
can help keep older workers in touch with working life; 19. is convinced that effective integration of refugees received
by the EU must include the labour market. In connection
16. advocates the promotion of a flexible labour market, for with the provisional reception of refugees from the former
instance through facilitating access and a smooth transition Yugoslavia, however, the aim of the EU to ensure their
from one occupational sector to another. Here it is possible return to the home countries is endorsed;
important to explore the scope for more flexible work
organisation so as to adjust working time to the differing 20. emphasises, lastly, the value of improving comparative
stages of life; statistics on labour market conditions so as to provide
benchmarking examples of best employment conditions
17. emphasises that any changes to workers’ employment and practices in the individual Member States to serve as
conditions, such as the transition from one occupational inspiration and lesson to the others.

Brussels, 2 June 1999.

The President
of the Committee of the Regions
Manfred DAMMEYER