Nicosia, September 17, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Kyriacos Kyriacou
The European Commission has on Thursday proposed guidance to Member States to better help long-term unemployed return to work.
In Cyprus, between 2005 and 2014, the long-term unemployment rate increased from 1.3% to 7.7%, after reaching its lowest at 0.5% in 2008.
In Europe there are more than 12 million people who have been unemployed for over a year. Despite the economic recovery and signs of improvements in the EU labour market, their number doubled between 2007 and 2014, accounting for about half of the total number of unemployed.
The proposal for a Council recommendation presented Thursday foresees that all jobseekers who have been jobless for more than 12 months receive an individual assessment and that they receive a job integration agreement, offering them a concrete and personalised plan back to work before reaching 18 months of unemployment.
Marianne Thyssen, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, said that “long-term unemployment is one of the most difficult and acute challenges caused by the economic crisis, affecting more than 12 million people in Europe”, stressing it exposes those affected to the risk of poverty and social exclusion.
“We must act to bring them back to work. We cannot settle for an economic recovery that leaves so many Europeans behind. She said that member States can implement these recommendations with the support of the European Social Fund.
The Commission`s proposal will now be submitted to the Council for discussion and adoption. The implementation of the measures outlined in the Recommendation will start as soon as Member States reach an agreement.
Long-term unemployed currently represent 5% of the active population. The share of long-term unemployed of the active population varies strongly between Members States ranging from 1.5% in Austria to 19.5% in Greece.
Regarding Cyprus, the Commission said that between 2005 and 2014, the long-term unemployment rate increased from 1.3% to 7.7%, after reaching its lowest at 0.5% in 2008.
The 2014 long-term unemployment rate in Cyprus is 2.6 percentage points (ppt) higher than the EU average.
During the same period (2005-2014), the very-long-term unemployment rate increased to reach 3.7% in 2014, 0.6 ppt above the EU average.
The new EU recommendation proposes three steps to improve the services for long term unemployed: 1. Registration of unemployed people with an employment service; 2. Individual in-depth assessment at the latest at 18 months of unemployment; 3. Job integration agreement at the latest at 18 months of unemployment.