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Emphasis on new skills at the EU level

“New skills for new jobs” seems to be the phrase on the lips of Brussels eurocrats at the beginning of 2009, and the success formula endorsed by the European institutions. In a newly-launched communication - New skills for new jobs: better matching and anticipating labour market needs - the European Commission presents, as previously requested by the European Council, a first evaluation of the EU’s future skills and jobs requirements up to 2020. Within the communication, the Commission also proposes a set of measures designed to help member states tackle the short-term employment consequences of the economic crisis. The communication highlights the need to

  • improve the monitoring of short-term trends and to develop tools for better matching of skills and job vacancies on the European labour market;
  • develop better information on needs in the EU in the medium and long-term, with regularly updated projections of future labour market trends and analysis of skills needs by sector;
  • improve the EU's understanding of global challenges related to skills and jobs through cooperation with third countries and international organisations; and
  • help member states and regions and all actors involved in the upgrading and matching of skills by mobilising existing Community policies and funds, especially the European Social Fund.

Following suit, in a set of non-binding recommendations, the European Parliament stressed the importance of teaching quality and advocated for teachers to be trained in the new skills needed for the future labour market.

Despite these concerted initiatives at the EU level, it is up to the member states how they individually reach these objectives. 

European Commission