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Employment: EC Action

Volume 464: debated on Friday 19 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the provisions of Article 5 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union regarding employment and the provision that the Union shall take measures to ensure co-ordination of the employment policies of the member states, in particular by defining guidelines for these policies; whether there will be shared competence with the European Union as a result of these provisions; and if he will make a statement on the legal consequences of this provision and the other provisions of the Treaty for employment in the UK. (158011)

[holding answer 15 October 2007]: The Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union does not change the existing provisions relating to the co-ordination of employment policies, currently set out in the Employment Title (VIII) of the Treaty establishing the EU under Articles 125-130. The employment provision in Article five relates to the Lisbon Strategy for Jobs and Growth, whereby all member states agree non-binding guidelines on employment and report annually on their main employment policies that relate to the Guidelines. This is principally to generate exchange of good practice on reforms that will help increase employment across the EU. This process is also supported by the European Social Fund.

The UK strategy of employment opportunity for all is seen as a good model and delivers the common EU outcomes necessary for more and better jobs. The UK is one of only four member states to have attained and surpassed the Lisbon employment rate target of 70 per cent.