Commission issues 2006 work programme
In October 2005, the European Commission issued its legislative and work programme for 2006. In the area of employment and social affairs, it concentrates on tackling the challenges of an ageing population, increasing worker mobility, modernising labour legislation, drawing up a new health and safety strategy and promoting gender equality.
On 25 October 2005, the European Commission issued its legislative and work programme for 2006 ( COM(2005) 531 final). Entitled Unlocking Europe’s full potential, the programme states that 'the challenges facing Europe are clear, and urgent'. It goes on to state that globalisation has brought opportunities and new demands and that modernisation, in particular, is essential to create the jobs Europe needs to continue its current high levels of prosperity.
In terms of employment, stimulating growth and creating more and better jobs remains central to the Commission’s work, and the programme stresses that 2006 will be a critical year to turn the revised Lisbon strategy for growth and jobs (EU0504201F) into reality. A report on progress at national level will be made to the spring European Council, to be held in March 2006.
The Commission states that skills and knowledge are 'key assets' that will enable Europe to create growth and jobs, but stresses that 'there is much more potential to unlock'. It intends to improve geographical and occupational mobility, within the context of the 2006 European year of mobility for workers. It will also work to achieve improvements in the transparency, transfer and recognition of qualifications throughout the EU. In particular, it intends to issue a recommendation for a voluntary European Qualifications Framework.
Facing up to the demographic challenge
The Commission will attempt to counter the effects of Europe’s ageing population by setting out ideas on how the EU can tackle this. It intends to issue a Communication on the demographic future of Europe, providing a synthesis of the replies to its 2005 Green Paper on this subject, issued in March 2005.
A priority for the Commission is achieving effective management of migration flows and combating illegal immigration. It therefore intends to issue a Communication on future priorities for the EU’s common policy on illegal immigration. This follows the Green Paper issued by the Commission on this issue, in January 2005 (EU0501208F).
Modernising labour law
The Commission intends to examine current labour legislation in the light of present trends, by means of a Green Paper. This Green Paper will try to launch a debate on the main trends of recent years and on what needs to be done to modernise labour legislation in the light of this.
Promoting gender equality
The Commission will publish a Communication on 'growth, prosperity and solidarity in an equal and democratic society: a roadmap for equality between women and men', which will define EU objectives and actions aimed at achieving gender equality.
Health and safety
The commission will issue a Communication on a new EU strategy on health and safety at work for 2007 to 2012. In particular, it wants to reinforce and modernise current EU health and safety policies.
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