Childcare services in EU Member States

Childcare services are services intended for the children in the age before going to primary school. Until now this was the ages from three years old until the age when child goes to primary school, which is different in some EU Member States. But now and in some countries in future this age is changing. In some countries children go to school at the same age, but the childcare models are different in every single country.
There are two different groups of Member States according to development. In the first group are EU-15 Member States and they already have developed childcare services and are concentrating on improving the quality of the services. In second group are the countries that don’t have developed childcare services yet, but are expected to grow seriously in the future.

In the graph bellow you can see annual expenditure on public and private pre-primary education in Member States in years 1997 and 2002:Figure 1

Source: OECD Statistics Database, 2005

Only in this figures we can see how much one country differs from another. We can see that the biggest spenders are Scandinavian countries and they also have the biggest investing in this sector per capita. The difference can be seen in the education of the personnel  caring for children in childcare (this differs also from age of caring children) and in the number of children per carer. This number differs from 3 children per carer to 13 children per carer. But becouse of big differances in the countries models, we cannot make any statistics on which we could compare childcare by countries.

In the second graph we can se the projection of population of children under  the age of 5 for EU from year 1975 to the year 2050:

Figure 2

Source: Eurostat, Statistics Database, 2005

With this we can see that population is getting even older, and European population in not among youngest in the first place. And the rate of children under the age of five in population is decreasing faster than in other countries. I think this is the sector where the education of the workers and the number of workers wanting to work in this sector is increasing and if the demand is going to decrease, than we could see a problem in this sector in the future.

In the past childcare was orientated to preparing for education children from the age of 3 years old until the age of going to primary school but now this is changing. They are starting to prepare children even earlier. And I think this is very wrong. Children are supposed to have fun at least at young age, we all know how life starts becoming stressfull as we are getting older. There are always new problems and the only time in our life we are without worries is in childhood. Parents are pushing their children too much already because they think it is going to be better for them, that they will enable them better life, so they are signing them up for after school projects and I think this is also too much. But we cannot control parents, but if we start pushing them to much from this young age I think we will not manage better life for generation after us. And if if countries are going to find opportunity to make work places in this sector is not going to end well in the end.


Blaž Kralj, Alicja Falińska

Reversal of global migration trends due to the crisis, on the chosen example.

The economic crisis which hit Europe, has left its mark in the labor market. In a particularly difficult situation were young people just entering the labor market, for which there is no place. This forced many of them to consider the decision to emigrate from their homeland. For many years remained constant trend in this area. Countries which were characterized by a high rate of emigration (in the European scale- usually countries of the “new union” – Central and Eastern Europe, in the world’s scale- former colonies- Spanish, Portuguese and French), whose citizens have decided to move to countries with a higher standard of living. There was also a group of countries that were typical destination for immigrants. Citizens of the “New Union” countries usually decided to move to Germany, the UK and France. The destination of the newcomers from the former colonies, was the home countries of these colonies- France, Portugal and Spain. Large influx of immigrants from Africa have been registered also in Italy and Greece.

The economic crisis with his affect on the U.S. and Europe caused a reduction in the living standards of many people in the Old Continent. By this we can see a change in the global migration trends. It turns out that people in countries such as Portugal and Spain-seen so far as a haven for immigrants, now consider the possibility of moving to another part of the world in search for jobs. However, the Spanish immigrant profile is significantly different from the immigrants from central and eastern Europe. Poles, Lithuanians or Hungarians who decide to emigrate are often well educated and who know the languages ​​of the countries to which they wish to move. Their decision to leave the country is a cause of “brain drain” in the homeland. Often the situation forces them to work below their qualifications in the country of destination.

Most of the young people in Spain decide to abandon schools very early, not earning an education that allows them to be skilled labor force abroad, the problem is also the lack of foreign language skills. Perhaps that is why it is easier for them to decide to move to a country that is former colony. Especially now, when the economic situation in Latin America and the development of the continent in recent years has caused a reduction in unemployment to an approximately 6% (as shown in the figure below data in %, year 2012).

slika alicja,101716,13266980,Latynosi_znalezli_patent_na_bezrobocie.html

Of course it is not so that every person who decide to leave Spain does not have education and does not know foreign languages. There is a group of highly educated people who emigrate because of the inability to find a job in their profession for decent wages. Here is another difference between an immigrant from Eastern Europe and Spanish. They do not decide to work below their qualifications, as it is in the case of Poles travelling to England for example. Interestingly, in recent years we have seen an increase of immigrants from Spain in Poland, which seem to be quite unattractive country for migrants from the west. However, it appears that the Spanish engineer that could count on a salary of 800 euros per month, which in Spain is a small amount in Poland with its lower cost of living, accept the offer and work in another country treats not only as a way to survive the crisis, but also interesting experience in his career.

Spaniards are the largest group among immigrants from Western Europe in Poland. Often they are trying for management positions in Spanish companies, or a job as a teacher of Spanish. Why they are choosing Poland? A large group of Spanish immigrants in Poland are former Erasmus, who knew the country while on international exchange, and more recently, people who had the opportunity to meet and like the country during the Euro 2012 Championships.

I believe that if the financial situation force someone to emigrate can not be considered to be the most optimistic and the best situation. However, a trend which can be observed in recent years, shown here on the example of Spanish immigrants, is in my opinion very interesting from the point of view of the international labor market. I think a few years ago, no one expected that Spain, a country receiving a large group of foreign workers in 2012 will record a negative migration balance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           Alicja Falińska, Blaž Kralj

Conditions of labor market in Slovenia

Lisbon strategy

With Lisbon strategy Europe Union wants to make more work-places, this goal they are trying to achieve with guidelines, that enhance economic growth. This is why EU is renewed Lisbon strategy and with the same goal Slovenia made National reforms program, with which they will try to follow these new guidelines. Because this is a big deal for EU and for all the EU members, these changes are demanded on a long term, but with several mid-terms. First changes started in the year 2005 and first mid -terms were set for next 3 years and second for following 3 years until 2010. In these years European Commission made reports about progress and necessary changes for individual countries. In the year 2010 European Commission accepted new headline strategy for growth and work-places, that is named Europe 2020. In this strategy they set 7 major initiatives and 5 major goals.

Situation in Slovenia:

In January 2013 there were 2.058.821 habitants in Slovenia and out of them working age were 912.969 habitants. Labor force participation rate in year 2010 was 66,2 %. The graph down under shows rate of employment comparing between member countries of EU in year 2010.

Picture 1: Employment rate, age group 15-64, 2010 (%)

Zaposlenost od 15 do 64 leta


The unemployment rate in year 2012 had risen up for almost for 1 percentage point, which is a step back or a step closer to situation in Greece. In January 2013 the unemployment rate was 13,6 percent or more than 124 thousand unemployed. The graph below shows comparison of long-term unemployment between gender in Slovenia in years from 2000 until 2010.

Picture 2: Long-term unemployment rate by gender in Slovenia, 2000 – 2010.

Stopnja dolgotrajne brezposelnosti po spolu v Sloveniji


Minimal monthly gross salary for full-time work, which is set by The minimum salary act, for the year 2013 in 783,66 euros, which is 2 percent less than the year before. The average monthly gross salary for full-time work in January 2013 was 1523,80 euros, which is 0,34 percent less than in January 2012.

The European Commission set this following guidelines for Slovenia:

»Adapt legislation to protect jobs in terms of the sustainability of contracts in order to reduce labor market segmentation, in cooperation with the social partners and in accordance with national practice. In consideration should also be parallel job market, caused by the student’s work.«

European Union is forming goals and guidelines, but the individual member countries must form reforms and  solutions to achieve goals by themself. Of course European Commission is making reports of progress and at all-time supervising the work of coordinators, which countries set to lead their programs. The common report about employing is made by The European Council.

In the year 2010 Slovenia accepted Act for regulating labor force, but it does not include regulating The student’s work, which is a huge problem with employing or not employing in Slovenia, because for employers student’s work is a lot cheaper than full-time worker. The problem is that students are ‘stealing’ work-places to themselves and at the same time they are working but not contribution to country and neither to health insurance. With the referendum in the year 2011 we tried to get rid of student’s work with The Mini Jobs Act, which is a form in which students could work while studying, but it would be more regulated, more money would go for taxes and it would be a lot more supervised. But the proposal was rejected at referendum, so this question stays open still.

Because the countries are at different levels of development, different impairment from the crisis and have different problems with employing workers, European Union does not demand the same goals from all the member countries. This are the goals Slovenia has set for the year 2020 on National reform program 2011 – 2012:

  • To rise rate of work activity to 75 percent of habitants in the age of 20 to 64,
  • Reduce the number of people who have a high risk of poverty or social exclusion, namely by 40,000 persons compared to the base year 2008,
  • To reach that percentage of early school leavers will not exceed 5 percent and
  • To reach that 40 percent of young generation, from the ages between 30 and 34, will graduate from tertiary education.


All sources last accessed on 9. may 2013

Blaž Kralj, Alicja Falińska

The interpenetration of the labor markets in the German-Polish border.

Western Pomerania is a region of Europe located on small area on the coast of the Baltic Sea and its range includes Polish and German border regions.

The specific nature of the labor market and demographic situation in the German part of the region have created specific conditions for the formation of the Polish-German relations in the area. Although the reunification of Germany took more than 20 years the differences in the level of living of the inhabitants of western and eastern provinces are still very visible. This state of affairs was the cause of the migration of a significant part of the population of Eastern Germany, still poorer, to western part of the country to give people better prospects of finding a job and achieving a better quality of life. These movements resulted in the depopulation of the eastern part of the country. The problem is so serious that the shrinking cities governments have decided to take action aimed at population vacancy.

Depending on what opportunities various regions give, the authorities have created packages to encourage Polish citizens to move into Germany. An example of such incentives may offer exemption from the payment of rent for the first three months, free public transport in the first months after residing in a new place, and a promise of reimbursement of expenses incurred for electricity after a year and all this only if you sign a lease for 18 months.

What such actions may have an impact on labor markets both in Germany and Polish?

Although the eastern areas of Germany is still struggling with unemployment higher than in the western part of the country, there is still not enough specialists in many industries. Skilled workers, for which preferential renting an apartment can be a great encouragement in the face of prohibitively high housing prices on the Polish side of the border. Another argument in favor of moving to Germany is fact that their homeland is situated really close. This type of migration is significantly different from that, when people move to areas thousands kilometers away from their hometown. If the migration involves the transfer of a few kilometers from the previous place of residence, it eliminates many of the problems and dilemmas which people planning to emigrate usually have.
Of course we need to consider that this offer is designed more for people in employment in Poland, or people with high qualifications that they can count on finding a job on the west side of the border. And this all not without affecting the rest of the labor market.
The next stage of the action taken by the East German Länder governments, was to encourage companies to move their business to the German side. Reduced comparing to the Polish bureaucracy, and lower taxes would encourage enterprising Poles to build their businesses in Germany. It was not only about the creation of new jobs for the residents of the eastern states.  It was about to stimulate native citizens to change the attitude towards life to a more creative and entrepreneurial.

What was the Polish reaction for this kind of offers?
Contrary to appearances, and despite the attractiveness of the offer, German towns did not became populated in Polish citizens. Clearly there is a large group of people who decided to the move, but they are not the values that can be expected. There are several reasons why the authorities of towns on the Polish side did not have to worry about a sudden exodus. The first is the fact that, despite favorable conditions, as experts estimate, the person who decides to move to the German side would have to reach around € 1,000, which is not common in Poland. For the professionals who can find employment in Germany, conditions what authorities offer them may not be attractive enough. Although wages of skilled people in Germany are high, however, in Poland there is no specialist in similar industries so that they can expect to earn a lot also in Poland.

In the face of that facts, the German authorities came up with another idea to try to cope with the demographic challenges faced by today Germany. They came to the conclusion that if they need employees skilled in the art that they have to train them. Because the young immigrants are more likely  to permanently settle in the country, the Germans decided to encourage young Poles to learn in their own country, in occupations where there is a shortage of labor. As the population of people who are studying is very high in Poland, and young people with a desire decide to take science which gives them to specialize in a particular area, the idea of German rulers seem to hit. Young people are encouraged by the prospect of scholarships and easily find a job after graduation. That makes they rather, than older generations who do not speak foreign languages, decide to accept the proposal of the German states.

You can talk about the positive and negative sides of a situation that takes place on the Polish-German border, its impact on the German labor market  Polish demographic situations, in a society which, like German is getting old. However, we should monitor the situation that is taking place in Pomerania and wait few years for the implications of this actions.


                                                                                                                               Alicja Falińska, Blaž Kralj