On 12 February, DG EMPL published the Quarterly Review of the Employment and Social Developments (ESDE) Report which provides an in-depth description of recent labour market and social developments.
It draws a very positive picture of the situation on the labour market in the European Union. For example, “the EU's economy continued its expansion at a robust and higher than expected pace. Employment in the EU continued its expansion surpassing expectations. It increased by 0.3 % in the EU and 0.4 % in the euro area in the third vs. the second quarter of 2017. The number of employed reached 236.3 million in the EU and 156.3 million in the euro area, the highest levels ever recorded. The unemployment rates in the EU and euro area are approaching their pre-crisis values at a steady pace. In December 2017, they stood at 7.3 % in the EU and to 8.7 % in the euro area, a yearly reduction of 0.9 pps and 1 pp respectively. Unemployment was below 18 million, the lowest level since November 2008.”
Furthermore, the report looks at productivity, labour costs, the household situation and labour demand – most of which report improvements.
SOLIDAR is wondering where the social aspects of the Employment and Social Developments are in this report?
To draw a more varied picture of the situation of people in the EU, for four years now SOLIDAR members in 16 European countries have been monitoring the social and employment situation in their respective countries and developed recommendations as to how to improve implementation of policy reforms that ensure social cohesion and improve upward social convergence. Unfortunately, for the fourth year now, the majority of our members’ observations are still negative, in the sense that the situation for many people has not been improving (enough) to ensure a decent life, decent working conditions and social cohesion among and within our societies.
The Social Progress Watch Report 2017 draws a direct comparison with the 2016 report in the areas of “Integration of third country nationals” and “Developments in social protection systems” and thereby clearly illustrates the continuous struggle of NGOs and civil society organisations to fill the gaps where the state is neglecting or insufficiently fulfilling its duties, for example when it comes to ensuring peaceful intercultural coexistence or the fight against discrimination.