Website of the Austrian Social Ministry

European labour market policy

The European Employment Strategy (EES) established in 1997 is one of the cornerstones of the labour market policy of the European Union. Its main objective is the creation of more and better jobs in the entire EU. The Employment Strategy has been integrated into the European Growth Strategy since 2005.

The Europe 2020 growth strategy

On 3 March 2010, the European Commission presented the current Europe 2020 growth strategy

Three key elements are to be realised by means of specific measures at the level of the EU and the Member States:

  • Intelligent growth (the promotion of knowledge, innovation and education as well as the digital society)
  • Sustainable growth (resource-efficient production with the simultaneous increase of competitivity)
  • Integrated growth (increase in the employment rate, skills and qualifications, and combating poverty).
The Member States have to report on the measures they have taken and can - on the basis of the annual audit by the Commission - receive recommendations from the European Council.

European employment strategy

The European employment strategy is based on an annual programme of planning, support, monitoring and adjustment in order to coordinate the national policies and measures of the Member States to combat unemployment. 

The European employment strategy is based on four instruments:

  • Guidelines for employment policy measures by the Member States
  • National Reform Programmes (NRP) of the individual countries
  • The annual growth report of the Commission and the joint employment report
  • Recommendations of the Council.
Austria's current National Reform Programme can be downloaded as a PDF file from the downloads area or viewed on the website of the Federal Chancellery.

European Semester

The so-called European Semester for the coordination of economic policy was introduced in 2011 as part of the Europe 2020 strategy. It has the task of examining national budget and reform drafts before they are adopted by national parliaments. The main goal of the European Semester is to ensure national budget discipline and a more productive economy

Progress in the following three areas is examined by the European Semester:

  • Macroeconomic factors
  • Growth-promoting structural reforms (coordination on the themes)
  • Public finances (stricter fiscal supervision)

As the name suggests, the European Semester acts on a six-monthly basis. Important points in the procedure are the presentation of the Annual Growth Survey, taking stock of the progress achieved, the presentation of the stability and convergence programmes (medium-term budget strategy) of the Member States as well as their National Reform Programmes.  

On the basis of the Commission's assessment, the June Council meeting gives the Member States country-specific recommendations. If the latter are not implemented punctually, political warnings can follow. In the case of excessive imbalances, incentives can be given and sanctions issued.

There is more information on the current results of the European Semesters on the website of the European Commission.

European Global Adjustment Fund (EGF)

The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund supports employees who are made redundant due to the globalisation of the world economy or due to global financial and economic crises

The Member States have the opportunity to apply for financial support from the EGF in order to be able to re-integrate those affected into the labour market by means of active labour market policy measures.

A maximum of €150m per year is available for this purpose.    

More Information about the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund in Austria on the Website