While the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion has decreased in the EU over the past ten years, in the latest times the number of people suffering from “in-work-poverty” increased. This worrying trend, highlighted by a study released by Solidar, points out one of the priorities for the EU in next future when it comes to employment and social affairs. Thus, despite an overall slow drop of unemployment, the problem in Europe is now the quality of the jobs created, especially for young generations. Wages are not following the raise of the cost of living and new jobs are often precarious and not able to ensure stability to young generations.
That is why this issue should be the top priority in 2020 and in years to come to be addressed by the new Eu Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit. “When we talk about unemployment that has been reduced, this is good news, but you have to look at what kind of jobs have been created,” said Schmit before the European Parliament. According to the new European Commissioner, coming from Luxembourg, the objective for the EU could not be reduced to statistics that highlight a decrease of unemployment, but should look also at quality of jobs created. In this sense, the issue is related to increased flexibility in the work market, that pose crucial questions and uncertainty to young workers when it comes to social contributions and their future retirement benefits. “Millions of jobs have been created in the EU over the last few years. However, we are still facing challenges of inequality and in-work poverty. The President-elect has made it clear: every worker in the EU should have a fair minimum wage. “I will endeavour to ensure that work pays and provides a decent living for the worker in the light of national economic and social conditions”, Commissioner Schmit said. He recognized that EU youth unemployment has fallen to the lowest level ever on record but that still there are great differences between and within Member States. “Youth unemployment is still far too high in some countries”, Schmit said talking about a “structural problem that requires continued attention”.
The problem is also that skills requirements in the labour market are changing rapidly. “Transitions from school to jobs are taking longer, and many young people start their career in temporary and atypical contracts”, he said. He admitted that the Youth Guarantee does not yet reach all young people not in employment, education or training (NEETs). “We need to be more ambitious in tackling these problems and make sure that the Youth Guarantee adjusts to the evolving needs of young people. I believe we should look at the age group we support and how to improve the quality of Youth Guarantee offers”, asserted the new Eu commissioner. As explained by the new Eu Commissioner for Jobs, among the priorities set by the new Commission guided by Ursula von der Leyen, there is to make sure that every worker in the Union has a fair minimum wage, allowing for a decent living and set according to national traditions; improve the working conditions of platform worker, without a 21st century precariat; reinforce the Youth Guarantee, especially by giving the young the necessary digital skills and by supporting actively the inclusion in the labour market of the more vulnerable ones; design a European unemployment benefit reinsurance scheme, to protect EU citizens and European economies from systemic shocks.
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