“High employment rates and signs of improvement for the youth”, this is how the European Commission advertises the current Quarterly Report on Employment and Social Developments in the EU. The Commission far too often paints a too rosy picture of the economic and social development in Europe. However, from the AK’s point of view, additional efforts have to be made at European level to ensure that the increased growth and employment rates also improve people’s working and living conditions. 

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When the heads of state and government meet next week to negotiate Europe’s economic recovery, there will be women sitting at the table – however, they hardly play a role in the recovery plan itself. A petition wants to change this.  

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Whilst all over Europe, short-time working models are preventing an explosion of unemployment, the number of young people not in work is increasing at dramatic speed. To counteract this development, the EU Commission presented on 1 July 2020 a Youth Employment Support package, which focusses on vocational education and training, as well as a revised Skills Agenda.

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Whether Brussels, Paris, London or Vienna: Europe too has seen many protests against racism and police violence since the violent death caused by police officers of Afro-American George Floyd on 25 May 2020 in Minneapolis. In the plenary of the European Parliament, a debate was held on 17 June.

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The EU Commission intends to pay more attention to the challenges, which accompany the demographic change and appointed Dubravka Šuica, the first Commissioner for Democracy and Demography in 2019. On 17 June 2020, the Commission presented a Report on the Impact of Demographic Change in Europe.

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To ensure that the interests of employees are also safeguarded during crises, one needs a well-functioning social partnership on all levels. A current survey by the Chamber of Labour on the situation in Austrian limited-liability companies has now confirmed that positive cooperation between works council and management during the Covid-19 crisis has prevented unemployment and many job losses. This is above all the result of the short-time work model, which had been negotiated by the social partners.

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The Just Transition Fund and the European Social Fund Plus are key financial buttresses of the EU’s social agenda. In view of the challenges of a preferably green, digital and social recovery within the course of the Covid-19 crisis, the Commission now intends to increase both funds – compared to the original Commission proposal.