748th meeting – 3 April 2001
Local authorities and employability
Recommendation 62 (1999) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE)
(CLRAE Recommendation 62 (1999), GR-SOC(2001)CB3)
The Deputies adopted the following reply to Recommendation 62 (1999) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) on local authorities and employability:
“The Committee of Ministers has carefully considered Recommendation 62 (1999) of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE) on local authorities and employability.
It wishes to state that it shares the Congress's views on the importance of setting up local partnerships and the key role which local authorities can play in setting up and contributing to such partnerships.
The Committee of Ministers also agrees that it is important to stress the need to increase employability in order to deal with the frequent mismatch between the unmet skill needs of employers in a changing economic environment and the difficulties which many unemployed people have in finding employment. Consequently, it agrees that it is important to provide all those seeking employment with training, education and work experience opportunities.
However, the Committee of Ministers notes that the recommendation concentrates primarily on youth employment. While it recognises that this is a priority in many countries, the Committee of Ministers believes that the needs of others – such as the long-term unemployed, older workers, people with disabilities and members of disadvantaged minorities – should also not be neglected. Strategies to be developed in this field should be aimed at facilitating the labour market re-integration of all those seeking employment.
The Committee of Ministers agrees that Governments should be encouraged in their own interests to consult local authority bodies on national and local programmes for employment, as well as the social partners and civil society organisations concerned with employment issues. It has therefore brought CLRAE Recommendation 62 (1999) to the attention of the governments of member states so that they can take due account of this.
With regard to the proposal to ask the European Committee on Social Cohesion (CDCS) to undertake a survey of employability programmes in order to improve skills and employability in the member states, the Committee of Ministers feels bound to point out that this would be an enormous and costly task and might well duplicate work being done by the European Union, the ILO and the OECD. The Committee of Ministers will consider, at the appropriate juncture, proposals for future intergovernmental activities submitted by the CDCS, one of which could be to carry out a review of how effective local partnerships can be in helping to improve local labour markets.
The Committee of Ministers also wishes to remind the Congress that the Committee of Experts on Promoting Access to Employment (CS-EM), which reports to the European Committee on Social Cohesion, and in whose work CLRAE members have been involved as observers, is drawing up proposals for guidelines on how local employment initiatives can help resolve long-term unemployment, with an emphasis on effective partnership at local level.
In addition, it should be noted that assistance activities on employment issues in member states are actively taking forward the promotion of local partnerships for employment.”