EU Ministers of Employment and Social policy adopted declaration on Apprenticeships – a call to promote work-based learning

16 October 2013, Last updated at, 10:45 EEST
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EU Ministers of Employment and Social policy adopted declaration on Apprenticeships – a call to promote work-based learning

At the meeting of EPSCO Council held on 15 October in Luxembourg EU Ministers responsible for Social policy and Employment deliberated on youth employment, posting of workers, European Semester, social and economic policy coordination issues.

Today the Council of Ministers extensively discussed the enforcement of the posting of workers directive, which aims to improve the protection of posted workers and facilitate provision of the services across borders. However, the Council at this stage was not yet able to find agreement on two major issues of the proposal: on national control measures applied to posting of workers, and on conditions for contractual liability. This proposal has been discussed in the Council since March 2012.

The Council adopted the Declaration on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships, as suggested by the Lithuanian Presidency based on the observations presented by Member States in July at the informal ministerial meeting in Vilnius. The Declaration sets an objective for the Member States to improve the quality and supply of apprenticeship schemes, involving employers, the authorities and the social partners.

„We are glad that the Lithuanian Presidency and the EU as a whole today have managed to adopt the Declaration of the Council of the EU on the European Alliance for apprenticeship. I am sure that this initiative is an important step in solving youth unemployment problem. We should concentrate efforts throughout Europe to support acquiring of skills and adapt them to the needs of labour market, in order to help to restore economic growth, create jobs, and in particular to improve the situation of young people in the labour market. The high-quality apprenticeship schemes should help integrate into labour market and to help solve the problem of the skills mismatch“, - said the Minister Algimanta Pabedinskienė.

On youth employment, Minister A. Pabedinskienė emphasized that youth unemployment is a sore issue for the whole Europe. In the EU it is twice bigger than the unemployment level of the adults, and amounts on average to 23 percent, but in some Member is higher than 50 percent. Youth unemployment is much lower there, where young people have conditions to work and study in this way acquiring practical professional skills.

“As evidenced by the success of the dual training systems in some the Member States, for example, Germany and Austria, the system of learning developed in the workplace has an extremely positive impact on youth employment, social inclusion, supply and demand of the labour market and the compatibility of economic competitiveness. These countries have the lowest youth unemployment index in the EU. According to August 2013 data in Germany youth unemployment amounted to 7.7%, in Austria - 8.6%. These are good examples to follow”, - said Minister Algimanta Pabedinskienė.

On the basis of Communication by the Commission Ministers discussed strengthening of the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Uniion (EMU), which is high on political agenda. There was a broad agreement that monitoring of social processes in the EU needs to be strengthened and that a special scoreboard of employment and social indicators might be a good tool to that end. The major outcomes of this debate will be presented to the President of the European Council for the forthcoming meeting of European Council on 24th October.

Today in Luxembourg the EPSCO Ministers also discussed the results of the European Semester 2013. The European Semester is meant to assess the performance of the Member States in implementing employment and social protection measures. The Council noted that the enhanced political dialogue between the European Commission and the Member States has improved the results of the European Semester, whereas better coordination of the preparatory committees has contributed a lot to its’ smooth conduction.

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