As unemployment rises sharply in the EU, drastic measures must be taken to prevent an even greater proportion of the working population from becoming permanently excluded from the labour market, with serious consequences for both the individual and society for a long time to come. An active labour market policy is needed, in combination with an active social security policy, to increase people’s opportunities to participate in the labour market. Measures to safeguard the individual’s employability and to facilitate movement on the labour market should be prioritised. Those individuals who can and who want to work must be offered better opportunities to participate in working life. On the other hand, investment to protect individual companies from structural changes should be avoided.
In a recession, the countries’ labour market policies and social security systems are put to the test. The labour market and social security policies must therefore be more active, with a focus on early and active measures to support continued participation or a return to working life, and to prevent long term exclusion. To achieve this, it is extremely important that the focus is on the individual and that all the major players are given better opportunities to work together for higher labour market participation.
To counter the negative effects of the financial crisis and address the underlying long term challenges, investment is needed in structural reforms with relevant measures that can create jobs and encourage a flexible and inclusive labour market. Therefore, the measures that are taken to limit the short term negative effects of the financial crisis must also take into consideration the challenges that we face in the long term. Intensive structural reforms are necessary in order to deal with the effects of an ageing population by enabling more people to find work.