Poletti: “We are thinking about a European unemployment benefit”

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The Italian Labour Minister said it is first necessary to make the European measures on youth employment structural, and to favour workers’ mobility; still, the social dimension of the economic and monetary Union is crucial and a possible European unemployment benefit should be taken into account

Youth employment first, but also attention for the social dimension of the European Union, fragile after “an economic and financial crisis which brought severe consequences in term of poverty too.” This is what the Italian Presidency of the Semester will be focused on, dealing with Labour and Social Policies. The Italian Labour Minister, Giuliano Poletti, told MEPs during his hearing that he had already started the debate on “automatic stabilizers” and on “the conditions for creating a European unemployment benefit scheme” during last weeks’ informal meeting held in Milan. The debate, said Poletti, “created a first occasion of talks about the various possible options, and aimed to assessing the impact of the creation of such a stabilization mechanism on the total effectiveness of labour policies and on the convergence among Member States.” The debate is expected to continue in the following months.

During the Semester, Italian attention will be focused on growth and employment, starting from youth employment, “one of the main challenges for Europe,” said Poletti. First, according to Minister Poletti, it is necessary to “guarantee quality and sustainability to the Youth Guarantee,” turning it into “a structural tool,” to focus on “macroeconomic policies able to create employment.” This will be done during the third meeting on youth employment to be held in Italy, after Berlin and Paris, at the end of the Italian Semester.

In the battle against youth unemployment it could prove extremely useful to proceed with the dossier on the “European job mobility portal, Eures” which, according to Poletti, should be reformed and “could contribute to the fight against unemployment in Europe, in particular against youth one” because “young people have a remarkable attitude for mobility.” In any case, we cannot focus on young unemployed, according to Poletti in fact “the battle against long-term unemployment and women employment” are crucial.

In addition to this, Italy will not underestimate poverty, because “the crisis took us away from the target of reducing poor and socially excluded people to 20 million within 2020,” underlined Poletti. Then, a focus on social economy, “still marginal on European and national political agendas,” even though “it is crucial for its potential in terms of job creation and welfare support.” In these six months, the Italian Presidency will also deal with “green growth” given that “there are still unexploited potentialities in terms of job creation” but also “risks connected to the transitions towards a greener economy which we have to monitor closely,” said Poletti.

Italy will also try to speed things up on another crucial issue: the fight against unofficial economy, “a phenomenon which still needs remarkable efforts on both the prevention and the contrast side,” and which has “severe fallouts on job conditions first, but also on fair competition, social dumping and public accounts.” A proposal on the matter was already adopted last April by the European Commission, aimed to creating a European platform for strengthening the cooperation among Member States and counteracting the phenomenon more effectively. “The Council is working very effectively on this,” reassured Poletti, who added he’s “quite optimistic about the possibility of reaching a general agreement in October.”



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