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13.3.1.  Institutional machinery for EU's employment policy

    Thanks to a levy system on the production of the industries concerned, the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) was better placed than the European Economic Community (EEC) to cope with the employment problems. Article 56 of the ECSC Treaty contained provisions on employment in the coal and steel industries. Useful lessons can probably be learned from experience gained with the ECSC, which has operated in exceptionally close association with the social partners and with co-financing redeployment aid for the workers losing their jobs from the industries concerned. This system has cushioned the social impact of tremendous job losses in these industries in the 1970's and 1980's. After the expiry of the ECSC Treaty in July 2002 [see section 2.1.], the ownership, management and destination of funds from the ECSC were transferred to the European Community, represented by the Commission [Decision 2003/76 and Decision 2003/77].

    Unlike the ECSC Treaty, the EEC Treaty did not prepare the Community Institutions sufficiently to cope with the employment problems which started plaguing the Community since the mid-1970s. Of course Article 118 of that Treaty gave the Commission the task of promoting close cooperation between States in the social field with regard to employment inter alia. To do so, however, it could act, in accordance with that Article, only by making studies, delivering opinions and arranging consultations. The Commission has used and is still using those means, which were supplemented by the new means developed thanks to the EC Treaty [see sections 12.3.2 and 12.3.3].

    In view of mutual information and coordination, the Commission set up a programme of employment statistics, and publishes reports on employment forecasts for each sector, based on national work and containing homogeneous quantitative data [Regulation 577/98]. It keeps a continuous inventory of the measures taken in the countries of the Union to tackle the employment problems. Monitoring and analysis of the level and structure of labour demand in the EU help identifying labour shortages, bottlenecks and mismatches by region, sector of economic activity and occupation [Regulation 453/2008].

    In collaboration with the national administrations, the European Commission has prepared an information system on employment policies, the European Employment Observatory, whose main task is to run a network between Member States and the Commission with a view to pooling information. The Observatory provides services to the public in the form of periodic publications and regularly updated databases. It also prepares comparative political analyses and tenders advice. In its current form the Observatory relies on three information networks.

    ·         MISEP (Mutual Information System on Employment Policies) is a network of representatives of the national administrations responsible for employment in the Member States and the Commission. MISEP’s chief task is to exchange and disseminate information in the field of employment policies;

    ·         SYSDEM (System of Documentation, Evaluation and Monitoring of Employment Policies) is a network of independent labour market experts (one per Member State) which produces comparative and thematic studies of employment policies and labour market policies throughout the EU;

    ·         RESEARCH is a high-level group that tenders advice on employment policy and labour market policy issues and produces assessment reports on the employment situation and on employability.

    The Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment enables the social partners at European level to contribute, in the context of their social dialogue, to the various components of the integrated economic and social strategy, including the sustainable development dimension as launched at the Lisbon European Council in March 2000 and supplemented by the Göteborg European Council in June 2001 [Decision 2003/174, see also section 13.5.1].

    The Employment Committee, made up of representatives of the Member States monitors the employment situation and employment policies in the Member States and the Union, formulates opinions at the request of either the Council or the Commission or on its own initiative and contributes to the preparation of the Council proceedings referred to in Article 148 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU[Decision 2015/772].

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