Europe back to work. A 10-point plan for change

Mass unemployment is the most urgent problem facing the European Union. It is both a social and an economic tragedy. With 27 million unemployed, the lack of jobs is destroying lives and hopes, breaking up families, and creating poverty. Even from a cold, hard-headed economic perspective, Europe cannot afford to allow the skills and energies of so many of its people to be wasted. That is why the S&D Group has developed and campaigned for clear economic and social strategies to enhance growth via public and private investment.

As social-democrats, our highest priority is job creation. We believe that policy mistakes made by the EU and some national governments have made the recession - caused by the global banking crisis of 2008 - longer and deeper than it need have been. The EU is finally seeing signs of a slow recovery but much more needs to be done to ensure that it is sustained - and that it is not a jobless recovery.

That is why the S&D Group in the European Parliament has launched the Jobs Initiative – an examination of European employment policies to see what is working, what is not working and what more can be done. We consulted with employers, trade unions, academics and civil society organisations. They gave us many good insights into the importance of, for example, skills, investment, entrepreneurship, innovation, work organisation and social dialogue in building a job-rich recovery. We have taken up many of their ideas.

We both visited many companies-big and small- all over Europe and have experienced first-hand the enormous creativity and quality of our European workforce. Time and again we were confronted with the fact that research, education and training are the basis of our industrial success.

Many start-ups are an expression of the determination of our younger generation to use their skills and to try to create new businesses and new jobs. But we need stronger efforts from our governments and the EU to support the initiatives of our citizens. With a common European economic and industrial policy many more of these initiatives could be created and succeed.

This booklet follows on from our consultations and sets out the S&D Group’s ideas and proposals. We do not believe that we can solve Europe’s problems overnight, but we strongly believe that these changes will set Europe in the right direction, to put an end to the economic and social evil of mass unemployment.

We want to thank the MEPS and staff involved for all their work but also the stakeholders for engaging so enthusiastically with the initiative, helping to develop new ideas. More than anything else we hope that the briefings reflect the political aims we are all dedicated to: putting Europe back to work.

Hannes Swoboda : President of S&D Group
Emilie Turunen : Chair of S&D Jobs Task Force

Related documents 
Europe back to work. A 10-point plan for change (Spreadsheet format)