CoR members adopted today by overwhelming majority a series of far reaching political recommendations proposed in the opinion on The integration of the long-term unemployed into the labour market, by Enrico Rossi, President of the Tuscany Region.
"There are 12 million unemployed Europeans today, over half of whom have been unemployed for over a year. The longer they stay unemployed, the less likely they are to find a job and to escape social marginalisation and absolute poverty", pointed out the rapporteur, calling for the establishment of a European long-term unemployment insurance scheme, on the basis of common economic and financial indicators.
While welcoming the Council Recommendation, to which the CoR opinion responds, Enrico Rossi is critical of the choice of the legal instrument because of its non-binding nature. He also highlights the need for European support when it comes to financing the much needed modernisation of employment services in Member States, so that they are capable of offering an efficient personalised pathway towards integration into the labour market.
The rapporteur makes a clear distinction between structural unemployment and unemployment deriving from more intense and prolonged periods of recession, which puts much greater strain on employment services. For the reorganisation of services dealing with structural unemployment, Rossi subscribes to the integrated use of structural funds, not least the additional resources of the Performance Reserve, in order to support authorities the perform well in the fight against long-term unemployment.
However, the CoR opinion argues that a European fund, similar to the Youth Guarantee, should be created to assist countries worst hit by the crisis to bring their services up to standard on the condition that they undertake all the necessary reforms. "This should be explored within the context of the mid-term review of the Multi-annual Financial Framework", explained the rapporteur, who also argues for extraordinary measures within a set timeframe, in the context of the Stability and Growth Pact.