The European Employment Strategy. Investing in people

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Publication Date 1999
ISBN 92-828-2194-3
EC CE-18-98-631-EN-C
Content Type


The European Union is one of the main economic blocks in the world today.With only 6 per cent of the world's population, it creates more than 20 per cent of its total production. But, despite its many strengths, Europe has not managed to meet one of its key objectives: to generate employment opportunities for all. All Member States are concerned by the different facets of this common problem:

  • Many people in Europe have no opportunity to create wealth and earn their share of it. 1 6.5 million people - one in ten of the workforce - are looking for work without success.
  • Over half of those unemployed have been out of work for more than one year; one third of them for more than two years, This reduces a person's employability, while adding to the growing problem of social exclusion.
  • Unemployment hits particularly hard those people who are often already at a disadvantage when it comes to competing in the labour market: young people, the elderly, the disabled,
    or ethnic minorities.
  • While over recent decades women have entered the workforce in massive numbers, labour markets still favour men: unemployment rates for women are generally higher, employment rates are lower, and women face discrimination when it comes to wages and to career opportunities.

Unemployment has a high social cost for the individual and a high economic cost for society. Europe's employment challenge represents both a missed opportunity and a banier to future prosperity. We are not fully exploiting one key asset of Europe's potential for growth: the skills and willingness of the EU's citizens to work,

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