Tackling labor market and skills shortage in EU

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European Commission tries to implement previous initiatives to strengthen the lack of new skills and professions needed for labor market which is facing numerous modern challenges, such as climate and digital, sustainability and circular economy, etc. The member states political economy’s patterns are already prioritizing economic, social and environmental aspects in development and investing in tackling labor shortages.  

The European Social Fund Plus program (the ESF+) represents the EU-wide main instrument for investing in people and supporting the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. With a budget of about € 100 billion for the period 2021-27, the ESF+ provides a vital contribution to the member states’ employment, social, education and skills policies, including structural reforms in these states. Within the ESF+, the Social Innovation+ initiative is dedicated to additionally developing and transferring innovative solutions to societal challenges, particularly in the fields of employment, education, skills and social inclusion.

More on Social Fund in: https://european-social-fund-plus.ec.europa.eu/en/social-innovation-match

With a budget of € 23 million allocated for 2024, the European Commission aims to support the testing, transfer, and scaling up of innovative solutions to tackle these challenges; they also include difficulties in the transition to the open labour market and the complex nature of securing cooperation between local employment actors. Additionally, financial sustainability and the absence of comprehensive cost-benefit analysis only complicate the long-term viability of the present Commission’s initiatives. By 2021, nearly 6 million individuals, constituting approximately 2.8 percent of European active population, were affected by long-term unemployment, with over 2.5 million young people experiencing significant periods of unemployment.
Recent EU-wide investment initiatives and regulations, e.g. the Green Deal, NextGenerationEU, NGEU and “Fit-For-55” emission reduction package and the digital transition, etc. include various mechanisms aimed at addressing employment matters and transforming existing member states political economies. For example, the Green Deal introduced the Just Transition Fund, which is aimed at supporting industries and regions most affected by the green transition and achieving net-zero emissions. Additionally, the SURE mechanism, created within the NDEU’s framework, serves as a temporary support tool to mitigate unemployment risks during twin transition.

Source: https://www.esf.lt/data/public/uploads/2024/03/study-on-job-guarantees-initiatives-in-europe-2024-03-06.pdf

Initiatives’ perspectives
The member states and organisations have until 30 September 2024 to submit their proposals, following the instructions set out on the website of the call, which must involve organisations from at least two different countries within the EU, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway and Serbia.
Projects can last up to 36 months and may receive grants ranging from €1-3 million per project.
An online session on 28 May 2024 will offer a chance to ask any questions about the call, while a match-making session will also be organised to facilitate the creating of new partnerships to build projects.
Information on both sessions is available on the webpage for the call; see the web page source at:


More information in: a) Report: ‘Towards zero long-term unemployment in the EU: Job guarantees and other innovative approaches’; and b) European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)


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