|Vol 7, No.11, 15.3.01, p6
STAR enlargement candidate Estonia will next week pledge to shadow the EU's employment policy in a bid to bring down its high rate of joblessness and modernise its labour market.
Employment chief Anna Diamantopoulou and Estonian Minister of Social Affairs Eiki Nestor will sign a joint paper on Monday (19 March) outlining urgent action the Baltic state must take in order to bring its record on jobs up to Union standards before accession to the bloc.
Estonia has been heralded as a front-runner accession candidate but the joint report will nonetheless warn that it has a long way to go on labour issues. Unemployment stood at 13.2% in 2000 compared to 0.6% in 1990 before Estonia became an indepen-dent republic. The Union's current average level of unemployment is 8%.
The paper praises Estonia for its market economy and stable government and also for its healthy services sector - on a par with that of the EU.
But it says that, like Poland which signed a similar agreement with the Union in January, too many people are still employed in agriculture and that joblessness has been almost continuously on the rise for the last ten years. "Although the overall trend during 2000 suggests that unemployment may now have peaked," says the report.
In order to improve the state of Estonia's jobs market Nestor will pledge to reform tax and benefit systems to ensure they do not put obstacles in the way of job creation.
Enlargement candidate Estonia will pledge to shadow the EU's employment policy in a bid to bring down its high rate of joblessness and modernise its labour market.
|Countries / Regions