Archive pour la catégorie ‘Employment’

The European Union believes in growth based on trade

Vendredi 27 janvier 2012

A range of proposals to make trade and development instruments work hand-in-hand to ensure real poverty reduction across the world are presented by the European Commission today.

The proposals aim at reinforcing the trade capacities of developing countries by making trade part of their development strategy. And to ensure we hit our target, the EU is currently looking into better ways of differentiating between developing countries to ensure the world’s poorest countries receive our biggest help. The role of trade is underlined in the proposal as one of the key drivers to support development, stimulate growth and to lift people out of poverty. Furthermore, today the EU calls for all developed economies to match its significant levels of market access to developing countries.

While the EU already provides more trade-related development assistance than the rest of the world put together, the Communication “Trade, growth and development” assesses the main next steps. For example: the traditional group of “developing countries” is outdated amid the rise of emerging economies. More tailor-made trade and development policies are needed that go beyond reducing customs duties at borders (tariff reductions), and tackle the major problem of improving the ‘business environment’.

To achieve this goal, the proposal underlines that developing countries’ leadership must also face up to their responsibilities. Developing countries need to undertake domestic reforms to ensure that the poor do indeed benefit from trade-led growth.

The Commission proposes a number of ways to improve the effectiveness of EU trade and development policy including:

reforming the EU’s preferential trade schemes to focus more on the poorest countries,
stepping up negotiations on free trade agreements with our developing country partners. These must look beyond tariffs to tackle the real barriers to trade,
increasing the use of EU instruments to promote foreign direct investment, including relevant provisions in free trade agreements to enhance legal certainty and combining EU grants with loans or risk capital to support the financial viability of strategic investments,
facilitating developing country exporters, especially small operators, to enter the EU,
assisting developing countries to improve their domestic business environment, meet international quality, labour and environmental standards and take better advantage of trade opportunities offered by open and integrated markets,
using trade measures to help mitigate the effects of natural disasters and tackle conflict catalysts, including in mining activities.
It also calls on emerging economies to assume more responsibility for opening their markets to LDCs through preferential schemes but also on a non-discriminatory basis towards the rest of the WTO membership, of which four-fifths are developing countries. At the same time, the EU offers emerging economies a more mature partnership that includes regulatory cooperation and engagement on global issues which are essential for development such as food security, sustainable use of natural resources, green growth and climate change.

Background
The EU leads the way in providing trade support to the developing countries:

- The EU imports more goods from developing countries than any other market. It is also the biggest market for developing world agricultural exports. Almost 70% of all agricultural imports to the EU comes from developing countries;
- developing countries benefit from EU preferences in the form of eliminated or significantly reduced tariffs for their goods (under the “General System of Preferences”);
- the Everything But Arms initiative offers duty free and quota free access to our markets for all Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and for all products except arms and is the most generous preferential import regime in the world;
the EU is leading world efforts for a package for LDCs in the multilateral trade talks;
- the EU supports the domestic reforms in developing countries needed for trade to fully contribute to development;
- The EU and its Member States are the world’s largest provider of Aid for Trade, which helps partners develop trade strategies, build trade-related infrastructure and improve productive capacity. The EU combined annual Aid for Trade reached €10.5 billion in 2009, maintaining the all-time high registered the year before;
- A substantial increase was also reported for EU Trade-Related Assistance (which is a sub-category of Aid for Trade that focuses on strategic trade issues such as policy development, regulation or regional integration). This brings the collective amount to nearly €3 billion, well above the target to spend €2 billion per year on Trade Related Assistance from 2010. Sub-Saharan Africa is the main beneficiary of EU Trade Related Assistance, with its share of collective EU Trade Related Assistance increasing from 15% to 28% between 2008 and 2009.

The European Commission launches public debate on corporate restructuring.

Mardi 17 janvier 2012

European Commission launches until March 30, a major campaign of public consultation and a Green Paper on the subject.

The aim is to identify successful practices and policies in the field of restructuring and adapting to change. The results will feed into the upcoming employment package and should help to improve further cooperation between workers and employers’ representatives, government, local and regional authorities and the EU institutions. The consultation will also help identify specific restructuring measures that could help deal with employment and social challenges, and help European companies improve competitiveness through innovation and a fast, but smooth adaptation to change.

Restructuring is part of business life and one of the important ways of helping a company stay competitive. The economic and financial crisis has put an extra strain on business: from 2002 to 2010, over 11,000 cases of restructuring were recorded by the European Restructuring Monitor, with a ratio of almost two jobs lost for every one created (1.8:1). Between 2008/2010, this ratio has increased to 2.5:1. Many companies and their workers have developed innovative arrangements to limit job losses. Here, social partners have played a key role. These initiatives have varied from working hours, to more social dialogue, to adjustment measures or the intervention of public employment services. However, these may be less effective in a context of persistently weak demand.

László Andor, EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion presented the new Green Paper saying: ‘To be able to react better in the future, we have to understand the reasons behind the success of some measures in some countries, or sectors during the crisis. We have to look at how measures, like for example short-time work, can be used to deal with the challenges we are likely to face in the coming period”. He added “We also want to see how we can best anticipate the employment and skills needs of the future, especially in the light of new challenges and growing social inequalities across Member States. And last, but not least, we want to see how the social impact of restructuring can be limited.’

The Commissioner also stressed how the EU stands ready to help and support Member States through the cohesion policy in particular the European Social Fund as well as the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund.

Content of the Green Paper:
The Green Paper includes several questions. In particular, it addresses the following issues:

- Lessons from the crisis – are existing policy measures and practices adequate? What are the success factors and future challenges? How have short time working schemes functioned during the crisis and how have they coped with a persistently weak demand?
- Economic and industrial adjustment – what are the relevant framework conditions and existing good practices on access to finance, to accompany structural adjustment?
- Adaptability of business and employability of workers – an anticipative approach best? Is there a possible need to update existing guidelines on restructuring and the means to ensure their implementation?
- Creating synergies in the process of industrial change – how to improve the synergies between companies, local authorities and other local actors? How to develop training as a permanent feature of human resources management?
- Role of regional and local authorities – how to encourage a supporting role of public authorities taking into account different national traditions?
- Impact of restructuring operations - what can be done by companies and employees to minimise the employment and social impact of restructuring operations and what role can public policies play in facilitating these changes?

The Green Paper is supported by the staff working document “Restructuring in Europe 2011″ Restructuring in Europe 2011, which draws on the main lessons learned in recent years on anticipation and management of change and restructuring.

The consultation period will run until 30 March 2012. During this period, anyone with an interest in the subject can submit their views via email or by post.

Background
Restructuring has been raised by the European Commission in its industrial policy flagship of October 2010, the flagship initiative ‘An Agenda for new skills and jobs’, as well as the Single Market Act. The Commission wishes to renew the debate on restructuring in the light of the lessons learned from recent experience.

The outcome of this consultation will feed into the upcoming employment package and the revived flexicurity agenda. It could lead to a renewed debate at EU level on a possible new framework for restructuring.

The employment is created thanks to SMEs

Lundi 16 janvier 2012

Between 2002 and 2010, 85% of new jobs were created in SMEs.

This figure is considerably higher than the 67%-share of SMEs in total employment. During this period, net employment in the EU’s business economy rose substantially, by an average of 1.1 million new jobs each year. These are the main results of a study on the essential contribution of SMEs on job creation presented by the European Commission today.

With 1% annually, the employment growth for SMEs was higher than for large enterprises with 0.5%. A clear exception is the trade sector, in which employment in SMEs increased by 0.7% annually, compared to 2.2% in large enterprises. This is due to the strong increase of large trade enterprises, in particular in sales, maintenance and repair of motor vehicles.

Within the SME size-class, micro firms (less than 10 employees) are responsible with 58% for the highest proportion of total net employment growth in the business economy.

Secondly new firms (younger than five years) are responsible for an overwhelming majority of the new jobs. New enterprises operating in business services create more than a quarter (27%) of the new jobs, while the new firms in transport and communication contribute least (6%).

Main effects of the crisis: smaller enterprises report negative impacts more often
According to the results of the survey, the economic crisis has left its mark on enterprises from all size-classes, with micro firms being particularly vulnerable. As a result of the 2009/2010 economic crisis the number of jobs in the SME-sector has on average decreased by 2.4% annually, as against 0.95% annually in the large enterprises sector. Employment developments are still negative in 2010, but expectations for 2011 were improving at the time the survey was held. The share of firms that expected to lay off employees in 2011 was smaller than the share of firms that actually laid off employees in 2010.

Besides the employment effects, by far the most important negative effect of the crisis on firms is the overall decline of total demand for their products and services (mentioned by 62% of companies), followed by the increase in customer payment terms (mentioned by 48% of firms) and finally the shortage of working capital, which affected 31% of the respondents.

Innovativeness is a weapon against the crisis
Innovation seems to have a positive effect: innovative enterprises, as well as enterprises from more innovative countries, more often report employment growth and have higher employment growth rates.

The survey underlines that innovative SMEs or companies operating in more innovative economies suffered less from the economic crisis. For example, while the decline in overall demand is mentioned by 70% of enterprises in countries that are considered modest innovators2, the corresponding figure is 45% for countries which are innovation leaders.

Job quality in SMEs
The study distinguishes two broad dimensions of the job quality: employment quality and work quality. On average it is true that jobs in small enterprises are less productive, less remunerated, and less unionised than jobs in large enterprises. However, microenterprises report that they have a competitive advantage over their competitors as far as ’soft’ aspects of the human resource aspects of an enterprise are concerned: working climate, work-life balance, working-time arrangements.

Background
The study is part of the SME Performance Review project and based on a survey of enterprises conducted at the end of 2010 and covering the 27 EU member states and 10 other countries participating in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, namely Albania, Croatia, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, and Turkey.

Waste: factor of growth and deficit reduction

Vendredi 13 janvier 2012

According a study, compliance with European standards of waste would permit 72 million savings and the creation of 400,000 jobs.

Illegal waste operations in Member States are causing missed opportunities for economic growth, but stronger national inspections and better knowledge about waste management would bring major improvements.

Improved implementation leads to significant benefits
The study gives an in-depth analysis of the effects of better implementation and enforcement and shows that benefits would be significant. It analysed a number of case studies in Cyprus, Germany, Ireland, Italy and the Netherlands to demonstrate economic, financial and social benefits to Member States.

The EU’s waste management and recycling sector is very dynamic, but still offers economic opportunities with vast potential for expansion. In 2008, its €145 billion turnover represented around 1% of the EU’s GDP and 2 million jobs. Compliance with EU policy would help create a sector with 2.4 million jobs and a total annual turnover of €187 billion.

The underlying problem is that too many prices do not reflect the true cost of disposal of goods – if they did, this would help prevent waste in the first place. In addition, many Member States still lack adequate infrastructure for separate collection, recycling and recovery. An absence of systematic control and enforcement mechanisms is another hindrance, coupled with a lack of reliable data on waste management.

Four key conclusions
- The study concludes that we need to know more about waste. Better data and systematic monitoring of how the laws work in practice must be made available. There is progress here, with a specific Data Centre on Waste recently set up by Eurostat.
- Better use of the polluter pays principle, and wider use of economic instruments like raising the costs of disposal, could help ensure compliance and provide the necessary financial resources for waste management.
- Inspection and monitoring capabilities need to be strengthened in Member States. This could mean establishing an auditing capacity at EU level and, possibly, common inspection standards.
- One relatively cost-effective option to strengthen implementation monitoring at EU level could be to draw on the expertise and capabilities of the European Environment Agency (EEA). This option would carry lower administrative costs than creating a new agency dedicated to waste.

Next Steps
The study’s conclusions will be discussed and analysed by the Commission. They will serve as grounds for developing a balanced mix of legal and economic instruments as suggested in the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe and the Thematic Strategy on Waste Prevention. These strategies encourage economic and legal incentives such as landfill taxes or bans, extending “producer responsibility” schemes and introducing “pay as you throw” schemes.

Background
The EU’s economy uses 16 tonnes of materials per person per year, of which 6 tonnes becomes waste, half of it going to landfill. Many Member States rely mainly on landfill as the preferred waste management option. This situation persists in spite of existing EU waste legislation and is unsustainable.

The Commission’s Roadmap for Resource Efficiency sets out milestones for ensuring that waste is managed as a resource by 2020 including through the revision of prevention, re-use, recycling, recovery and landfill-diversion targets, and through the development of markets for secondary and recycled materials.

Good figures for active aging in Europe

Vendredi 13 janvier 2012

The employment rate for persons aged 60-64 increased from 23% in 2000 to 31% in 2010 and from 50% to 61% for those aged 55-59

The proportion of the population in the EU27 who are aged 55 and over rose from 25% in 1990 to 30% in 2010, and is estimated to reach around 40% by 2060. In connection with the demographic challenges presented by this increase, the European Union has designated 2012 as the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations1. Active ageing means that older age groups have the opportunity to stay in the workforce and share their experience, to keep playing an active role in society and to live as healthy and fulfilling lives as possible.

To mark the European Year, Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, issues a new publication “Active ageing and solidarity between generations – a statistical portrait of the European Union 2012″2, prepared in collaboration with the European Commission’s Directorate General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and Eurofound, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. This publication presents data on topics such as demography, employment, transition from work to retirement, healthcare, living conditions and participation in society. In this News Release the most recent data on demographic trends and employment amongst the older population are presented, while more information on attitudes towards ageing and the participation of older persons in society can be found in a new Eurobarometer survey3 from the European Commission as well as in the Eurostat publication.

The share of those aged 55 and over varied between 21% in Ireland and 33% in Germany and Italy in 2010

The share of persons aged 55 and over in the total population increased between 1990 and 2010 in all Member States. In 2010, the largest shares of those aged 55-64 were observed in Finland (14.7% of the total population), the Czech Republic and Malta (both 14.1%), and the lowest in Ireland (10.1%), Lithuania (10.7%) and Luxembourg (10.8%). For the age group 65 and over, the highest shares were found in Germany (20.7%), Italy (20.2%) and Greece (18.9%), and the lowest in Ireland (11.3%), Slovakia (12.3%) and Cyprus (13.1%).

Employment rate for those aged 60 to 64 ranged between 13% in Hungary and 61% in Sweden in 2010

Employment of the older population has strongly increased over the last decade. While the employment rate4 for those aged 20-64 in the EU27 increased by 2.1 percentage points (from 66.5% in 2000 to 68.6% in 2010), the rates for older age groups rose more sharply, by 10.6 pp for those aged 55-59 (from 50.3% to 60.9%) and by 7.5 pp for those aged 60 to 64 (from 23.0% to 30.5%). The employment rate remained at around 5% for those aged 65 and over.

In 2010, the highest employment rates for those aged 55-59 were observed in Sweden (80.7%), Denmark (75.9%) and Finland (72.5%), and the lowest in Poland (45.8%), Slovenia (46.9%) and Malta (49.3%). For those aged 60-64 the highest rates were recorded in Sweden (61.0%), the United Kingdom (44.0%) and Estonia (42.8%), and the lowest in Hungary (13.0%), Malta (14.2%) and Slovakia (17.2%). For those aged 65 and over, the highest employment rates were found in Portugal (16.5%), Romania (13.0%) and Cyprus (12.9%), and the lowest in France and Slovakia (both 1.6%) and Hungary (1.9%).

The European Union calls for a reduction in youth unemployment

Mardi 20 décembre 2011

21% of young Europeans are unemployed, Europe demands an immediate response of the States.

The new ‘Youth Opportunities Initiative’, adopted by the Commission today, calls on Member State to work on preventing early school leaving; helping youngsters develop skills relevant to the labour market; ensuring work experience and on-the-job training and helping young people find a first good job. The Commission is also urging Member States to make better use of the European Social Fund which still has €30billion of funding uncommitted to projects. In addition, the Commission has put forward a set of concrete actions to be financed directly by EU funds.

The Commission will also make funds available for technical assistance to help Member States make greater use of available EU funding - especially the European Social Fund (ESF) of which €30bn remains uncommitted to projects.

More details
The main actions financed directly by the Commission in the new ‘Youth Opportunities initiative’ are:

- using €4m to help Member States set up ‘youth guarantee’ schemes to ensure young people are either in employment, education or training within four months of leaving school.
- dedicating € 1.3 million to support the setting up of apprenticeships through the European Social Fund. An increase of 10% by the end of 2013 would add a total of 370,000 new apprenticeships.
- using €3m of the European Social Fund Technical Assistance to support Member States in the setting up of support schemes for young business starters and social entrepreneurs;
- gearing funds as much as possible towards placements in enterprises and targeting at least 130,000 placements in 2012 under ERASMUS and Leonardo da Vinci;
- providing financial assistance in 2012-2013 to 5,000 young people to find a job in another Member State through the ‘Your first EURES job’ initiative
- reinforcing the budget allocation for the European Voluntary Service in order to provide at least 10,000 volunteering opportunities in 2012;
presenting in 2012 a framework for high quality traineeships in the EU;
- ensuring around 600 further exchanges under Erasmus for entrepreneurs in 2012.
The actions proposed by the Commission will pave the way for Member States to develop further youth-related measures under the next generation of European Social Fund programmes and as part of the EU budget 2014-2020.

Background
There are 5 million unemployed young people in the EU today and 7.5 million young people between 15 and 24 are currently neither in employment nor in education or training. This concerns not only low-skilled young people having left school too early, but more and more university graduates who cannot find a first job.

The Commission wants to mobilise all actors concerned as well as available EU funding to take immediate measures that will enable smoother transitions between education and work as well as ease access to work for young unemployed across Europe. The aim is to help youngsters that are neither in education nor work to find a job, or return to training and to help those with a third level education find a first job.

The Commission will strongly support Member States in this endeavour by giving them policy guidance as well as concrete assistance. In the context of the Europe 2020 strategy, Member States are expected to address youth employment in their 2012 National Reform Programmes and youth policies and measures will systematically be addressed in the draft Country Specific Recommendations for 2012. The Commission will continue to assess and analyse measures taken by Member States to fight youth unemployment and will report on this to the informal Council of Employment and Social Ministers in April 2012.

The European Commission promotes the mobility of European highly skilled people

Lundi 19 décembre 2011

The working age population declines in Europe and demand for qualified professionals should increase to 16 million people in 2020.

If Europe is to meet this demand, gaps in labour shortages need to be filled – for example through mobile and well qualified professionals from other EU Member States. They can be a key source of growth, but only if they can easily go to where jobs are and this requires their qualifications in the EU to be recognised in a fast, simple and reliable way. That is why the Commission has today adopted a proposal for modernising the Professional Qualifications Directive (Directive 2005/36/EC).

Today’s proposal aims at simplifying rules for the mobility of professionals within the EU by offering a European Professional Card to all interested professions which would allow easier and faster recognition of qualifications. It also clarifies the framework for consumers, by inviting Member States to review the scope of their regulated professions and by addressing public concerns about language skills and the lack of effective alerts about professional malpractice, notably in the health sector.

Key elements of the proposal:
1. The introduction of a European professional card will offer to interested professionals the possibility to benefit from easier and quicker recognition of their qualifications. It should also facilitate temporary mobility. The card will be made available according to the needs expressed by the professions (for example, nurses and mountain guides expressed a strong interest in using such a card). The card is associated to an optimised recognition procedure carried out within the existing Internal Market Information System (IMI) and will take the form of an electronic certificate, allowing the professional to provide services or become established in another Member State.

2. Better access to information on the recognition of professional qualifications: all citizens seeking the recognition of their professional qualifications should be able to go to a one-stop shop rather than being passed around between different government bodies. This one-stop shop should be the Points of Single Contact (PSCs), created under the Services Directive, which will allow citizens to obtain information in one place about the documents required to have their qualifications recognised and where they can also complete all online recognition procedures.

3. Updating minimum training requirements for doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, veterinary surgeons and architects: the minimum training requirements for these professions were harmonised 20 or 30 years ago. They have been updated to reflect the evolution of these professions and of education in these fields. For example, the entry level for nursing and midwifery training has been upgraded from 10 years to 12 years of general education.

4. The introduction of an alert mechanism for health professionals benefiting from automatic recognition: competent authorities of a Member State will be obliged to alert competent authorities of all other Member States about a health professional who has been prohibited from exercising his professional activity by a public authority or a court. This is particularly important because there have been examples of doctors banned from practising in their home Member State, moving abroad to work, and other Member States were not aware of it.

5. The introduction of common training frameworks and common training tests, replacing common platforms, should offer the possibility to extend the mechanism of automatic recognition to new professions. Interested professions could benefit from automatic recognition on the basis of a common set of knowledge, skills and competences or on a common test assessing the ability of professionals to pursue a profession.

6. Mutual evaluation exercise on regulated professions: a new mechanism is introduced in the Directive to ensure greater transparency and justification of the professions they regulate through a specific qualification requirement. Member States will have to provide a list of their regulated professions and justify the need for regulation. This should be followed up by a mutual evaluation exercise facilitated by the European Commission.

Background:
The Professional Qualifications Directive is essential to enabling professionals to start a new business or to find a job in another Member State requiring a specific qualification for a specific professional activity. The modernisation is one of the twelve levers for growth set out in the Single Market Act (IP/11/469).

The European Commission promotes eco innovation business

Jeudi 15 décembre 2011

Eco innovation is a priority of the Europe 2020 strategy.

The new Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) will boost innovation that reduces pressure on the environment, and bridge the gap between innovation and the market. Eco-friendly technologies are good for business and help create new jobs, so eco-innovation is crucial to the economic competitiveness of Europe.

The EcoAP is one of the commitments of the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative, building on the 2004 Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP). It expands the focus from green technologies to the broader concept of eco-innovation, targeting specific bottlenecks, challenges and opportunities for achieving environmental objectives through innovation. The EcoAP includes actions both on the demand and supply side, on research and industry and on policy and financial instruments. The Plan recognizes the key role of environmental regulation as a driver of eco-innovation and foresees a review of environmental legislation. It also stresses the importance of research and innovation to produce more innovative technologies and bring them to the market. The Plan also puts emphasis on the international aspect of eco-innovation, and on better coordination of policies with international partners.

The Action Plan will accelerate eco-innovation across all sectors of the economy with well targeted actions. To help create stronger and more stable market demand for eco-innovation, it will take measures in the areas of regulatory incentives, private and public procurement and standards and it will mobilise support for Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to improve investment readiness and networking opportunities.

Key aspects of the new Action Plan include:

- Using environmental policy and legislation to promote eco-innovation;
- Supporting demonstration projects and partnering to bring promising, smart and ambitious operational technologies to market;
- Developing new standards to boost eco-innovation;
- Mobilising financial instruments and support services for SMEs;
- Promoting international co-operation;
- Supporting the development of emerging skills and jobs and related training programmes to match labour market needs; and
- Promoting eco-innovation through European Innovation Partnerships

Next Steps
Implementation of the plan will be via partnership between stakeholders, private and public sector, and the Commission. The upcoming mid-term financial review will provide a good opportunity to assess the achievement of the goals set in this Action Plan. New efforts will focus on product development and demonstration activities to fill the gap between technology and market uptake.

Background
Eco-Innovation is any form of innovation resulting in or aiming at significant and demonstrable progress towards the goal of sustainable development, through reducing impacts on the environment, enhancing resilience to environmental pressures, or achieving a more efficient and responsible use of natural resources.

European eco-industries are a significant economic sector with an annual turnover estimated at EUR 319 billion, or about 2.5 % of EU GDP.

Consultation publique au sujet des personnes handicapées

Mardi 13 décembre 2011

The European Commission today launched a public consultation to develop future initiatives for people with disabilities.

The consultation will help the Commission to prepare its proposals for a European Accessibility Act, planned for autumn 2012. The initiative aims to ensure that people with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transport and to information and communication services. It will also benefit people with limited mobility, such as the elderly. The consultation – itself fully accessible – is aimed at gathering views from businesses, people with disabilities and the general public and will remain open until 29 February 2012.

The Commission adopted a comprehensive strategy last year to create a barrier-free Europe for disabled people by 2020 (IP/10/1505). The plan outlines how the EU and national governments can empower people with disabilities so they can enjoy their rights.

One of the key actions included was an accessibility initiative. The aim is to use standardisation or public procurement rules to make all goods and services accessible to people with disabilities while fostering an EU market for assistive devices. This market is expected to grow considerably in the coming years, following the experience in the United States.

A study by the UK’s Royal National Institute of the Blind showed that a £35 000 investment by a supermarket chain in making their website accessible brought in additional revenue of over £13 million a year. In Germany, a study found that more accessible facilities would increase travel by persons with disabilities, yielding between €620 million and €1.9 billion in additional turnover for the German tourism industry.

Background
One in six people in the European Union – around 80 million – have a disability that ranges from mild to severe. Over one third of people aged over 75 have disabilities that restrict them to some extent. These numbers are set to rise as the EU population grows progressively older. Most of these people are all too often prevented from fully participating in society and the economy because of physical or other barriers, as well as discrimination.

The EU Charter of Fundamental Rights says that the “Union recognises and respects the right of persons with disabilities to benefit from measures designed to ensure their independence, social and occupational integration and participation in the life of the community.” In addition, the EU and all its 27 Member States have already committed to creating a barrier-free Europe by signing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

‘Accessibility’ means that people with disabilities have access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, transportation, information and communications technologies and systems, and other facilities and services.

On 1-2 December 2011, the Commission organised a major conference in the context of the European Day of People with Disabilities, which also focused on the disability rights perspective of the economic crisis. During the conference, Vice-President Reding announced that Salzburg, in Austria, was the winner of the 2012 Access City award, the EU prize for accessible cities (IP/11/1492).

On 6 December 2011, leaders of the EU institutions came together for the first time with the European Disability Forum, at a high-level meeting, to discuss issues facing Europeans with disabilities (IP/11/1507).

One in three migrants in the EU are over-qualified for their jobs

Jeudi 8 décembre 2011

One in three foreign-born persons aged 25 to 54
overqualified for their job, compared with one person in five among the native-born.

Over the years, migration has had an impact on the composition of European societies. In 2010, foreign-born persons accounted for 9.4% of the EU27 population. Their socio-economic situation was in general less favourable than for native-born persons.

In 2008 in the EU27, the unemployment rate of foreign-born persons aged 25-54 was higher than for native-born persons in this age group (10% compared with 6%). When employed, foreign-born persons often have more difficulties to find a job corresponding to their education level. This can be measured using an overqualification rate, which refers to the percentage of persons with a high level of education who have a job which does not
correspond to this level. In the EU27 in 2008, foreign-born persons aged 25-54 registered a significantly higher overqualification rate than native-born persons (34% compared with 19%).

These figures come from a publication issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. This publication looks at a broad range of characteristics of migrants aged from 25 to 54 living in the European Union and EFTA countries. It looks separately at foreign-born persons, foreign citizens and second generation migrants.

It covers the socio-economic situation of migrants including labour market status, income distribution and poverty. Reasons for migration and length of residence are also examined.

Higher rates of unemployment and overqualification for foreign-born persons

In 2008, the unemployment rate of foreign-born persons aged 25-54 was higher than for native-born persons in this age group in all Member States for which data are available, except Greece and Hungary. Particularly high gaps were registered in Belgium (14% for foreign-born compared with 5% for native-born), Sweden (11% and 3%), Finland (11% and 5%), Spain (15% and 9%), France (12% and 6%) and Germany (12% and 6%).

As regards employment, foreign-born persons aged 25-54 registered a significantly higher overqualification rate than native-born persons in 2008 in all Member States for which data are available. The difference was particularly marked in Greece (62% for foreign-born compared with 18% for native-born), Italy (50% and 13%), Spain (58% and 31%), Cyprus (53% and 27%), Estonia (47% and 22%) and Sweden (31% and 11%).

One in three foreign-born person aged 25 to 54 at risk of poverty or social exclusion

In 2008 in the EU27, 31% of the foreign-born aged 25-54 were assessed to be at risk of poverty or social exclusion, following the criteria set by the Europe 2020 strategy. The native-born registered a lower rate of 20%. This pattern was observed in all Member States for which data are available, except Hungary and Lithuania. Particularly high gaps were recorded in Belgium (36% for foreign-born compared with 13% for native born), Sweden (32% and 10%), Greece (45% and 23%), France (34% and 14%), Austria (32% and 13%), Finland (31% and 13%) and Denmark (31% and 13%).

Foreign-born persons are also in a less favourable situation with regard to housing conditions. In 2008 in the EU27, foreign-born persons aged 25-54 were more likely to live in overcrowded dwellings than native-born persons (23% compared with 19%). The differences were particularly high in Austria (40% for foreign-born compared with 9% for native born), Greece (49% and 26%), Slovenia (61% and 41%), France (26% and 8%) and Denmark (21% and 6%).