The integrated guidelines for growth and jobs (COM(2005)141 final of 12.04.2005) incorporate the previously separate Employment guidelines and the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines. They are the basis of a new European Employment Strategy (EES) process within the relaunched Lisbon Strategy. The aim is to improve coordination between EU Member States and the European institutions and facilitate coordination of employment policies with macroeconomic and microeconomic policies of the EU.
The integrated guidelines are presented in one comprehensive document with two parts. Part 1 includes the Commission Recommendations on the Broad Economic Policy Guidelines and provides guidance on macroeconomic and microeconomic policies in the Member States and the Community. Part 2 comprises the proposal for a Council decision on the Employment Guidelines, on which the European Parliament, the European Social and Economic Committee and the Committee of the Regions have to be consulted, in accordance with Article 148 TFEU. In order to ensure proper integration and consistency, cross-references are made between relevant guidelines in parts 1 and 2. The set of guidelines for the period 2005 to 2008 contained a total of 23 guidelines.
On 12 July 2005, the Council of the European Union adopted the new integrated guidelines (OJ L 2005 06/08/05). The comprehensive integrated package of guidelines aims to contribute to refocusing the Lisbon Strategy on growth and employment in which the EES has the leading role in terms of implementation of the employment objectives.
In February 2005, the European Commission made a proposal for a review of the Lisbon strategy which led to a complete revision of the EES. This was based on an extensive evaluation of the first five years of the EES carried out in 2002. The evaluation emphasised the need to amend the EES with a view to aligning it more closely to the Lisbon goals. A further revision was launched at the beginning of 2005 as part of the Commission proposal for a refocusing of the Lisbon strategy.
From 2005 on, the EES was integrated into the Lisbon governance cycle. Up to this date, the coordination of national employment policies at EU level was exclusively built on the provision of Article 128 of the EC Treaty (now 148 TFEU). The integrated guidelines form the basis for the new National Reform Programmes (NRP) which replaced the former National Action Plans. These NRPs are the outcome of a debate at national level with the competent parliamentary bodies and the social partners, in accordance with national practice.
In the EU annual progress report, the Commission reviews progress made at both national and Community level, based on regular monitoring of the actions listed in the Community Lisbon Programme and on an evaluation of the implementation of the Member States’ national programmes. The employment chapter of the annual progress reports is the basis of the Joint Employment Reports. These are adopted in accordance with the procedure of Article 148(1) TFEU. The Council may decide, by qualified majority, to issue country-specific recommendations upon a proposal by the Commission.
The integrated guidelines are valid for three years, in order to provide the stability required for their implementation. In the intervening years until 2008, updating of the guidelines was to remain strictly limited.
On 12 December 2006 the European Commission presented the second Annual Progress report ‘A year of delivery: Implementing the renewed Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs’ (COM(2006) yyy) which emphasised the progress achieved in the new EES approach.