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2006 – The European Year of Worker’s mobility

The European Commission has named 2006 the European Year for mobility of workers. The year aims to raise awareness and increase understanding of the benefits of both working abroad and in a new occupation. It is the first European year which combines the issues of mobility and workers.

The Commission finds that reskilling is crucial in a globalised and restructuring economic environment and mobility within sectors and internationally provides workers with news skills and experience, benefiting both them and their employers. Current figures show that very few Europeans work abroad. The percentage of Europeans residing in an EU country other than their country of origin has consistently remained around 1.5% for the last 30 years. And in 9 EU countries, 40% of workers have remained in the same job for over 10 years.

Vladimir Spidla, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities, pinpointed some of the reasons for low EU worker mobility. 'There are still legal, administrative, and linguistic obstacles to worker mobility, coupled with lack of knowledge about available information and assistance, and many workers remain unconvinced about the advantages of working in another country and/or sector. This is what we have to address,' he said.

Key activities in 2006:

  • Of the year's 6 Million Euro budget, around 4.3 Million Euro will be dedicated to mobility awareness raising projects, to be submitted in a September call for proposals.
  • Mobility conference June 2006
  • 'Job Fair Europe' next September with job fairs in around 100 European cities.
  • Several studies on the impact of mobility, as well as attempts to improve statistical data on it, are also planned.
  • A European prize will be awarded to the organisation that has contributed the most to worker mobility.

The year's official launch will be made in the presence of European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and several of his Commissioners in February 2006.

Commission press release: 2006 - The European Year of Worker's mobility