Labour is a key topic whenever we address the issue of growth in the European Union.
The growing trend of employment in Europe in the 2000-2008 timeframe is opposed to a striking decrease that continues today. Before the discouraging employment figures in the EU Member States, understanding how the European and global labour market is changing becomes a priority with a view to developing appropriate policies and responding to the immediate and future challenges to the economy.
For ten years, the European Union has pursued “smart, sustainable and inclusive” growth as it tried to fulfil the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy. However, the scenario has changed dramatically and today’s strategies (plans) for the development of Europe cannot ignore this. The global crisis has redefined the rules of the game and quality employment is the missing element in the picture, especially when young people are at stake. Even more paradoxically, high unemployment rates and unskilled young people coexist in such a scenario.
In what is somehow a vicious circle, where growth is conditional on employment and employment is conditional on growth, the European Union and its individual Member States share the urgent need to understand where and how they should act. Using the European employment policies as a starting point is a way to foster economic growth across the whole EU.
Education is key to cultivate those talents and create those skills the labour market requires. Likewise, public policies may entice and release new entrepreneurial energies to understand and deal with the forthcoming challenges of technological and global competition. The private sector can and should play a key role as well in the revival and economic development of the EU. It can create new economic paradigms to serve as a breeding ground for innovative culture and skills, as well as a source of quality employment.
The East Forum 2014 will try to understand how work is changing and what role the European Union can play in setting the best conditions to stimulate sound growth prospects and job opportunities.
As the East Forum has always done, these topics and the relevant case studies will be addressed with the support of national and international experts and professionals and the voices of those who are most entitled to speak of tomorrow’s European Union will be listened to, i.e. the young.