The European Commission’s annual report on EU development trends has identified sustainability as a primary driver of growth.
The Commission’s 2019 Employment and Social Developments in Europe review details a number of policy recommendations aimed at maintaining the bloc’s competitiveness and promoting ongoing economic growth, while addressing prevailing EU development trends including technological transformation, an ageing population and the global climate emergency. The review also details the EU’s economic status over the last year, noting that the bloc has seen continued socioeconomic improvement and a record high rate of employment.
Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen said: “This annual review shows that the recovery has taken hold in the European economy. With 240.7 million Europeans at work, up by 13.4 million jobs since the start of the Juncker Commission, the employment rate in the EU is the highest ever recorded. Unemployment in Europe is historically low; and the number of people at risk of poverty continues to drop. This is a good springboard for stepping up the delivery for citizens on the basis of the European Pillar of Social Rights. This must include a fair transition to a climate neutral economy that makes full use of the ‘green growth’ opportunities ahead. We can improve everybody’s living standards provided that the EU and Member States, together with the social partners, invest in new and better skills, higher qualifications and social services.”
In line with the EU’s overarching goal of achieving full carbon neutrality by 2050, the review highlights the benefits of an EU-wide transition to clean energy. The move to renewable energy sources is projected to create some 1.2 million jobs throughout Member States by 2030, mitigating some of the impact on employment levels of widespread digitalisation and automation. The report noted, however, that Member States must make adequate preparation for the transition in order to ensure workers in high-carbon occupations can receive the training and support they need to shift to a new field.