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24.1.

2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 22/13

2.6. The Committee urges the Commission to involve local ascertain which tasks are best catered for by the private and
and regional authorities in framing and implementing the public (including the regional authorities) sectors respectively
‘Best Procedure’ methodology. The Committee specifically in the sphere of enterprise policy.
encourages the Commission to examine more closely, as part
of its benchmarking exercise, ways in which the impact of 2.7. Lastly, the Committee of the Regions recommends that
enterprise policy is influenced by the apportionment of tasks it be consulted on the relevant sections of the annual work
between private and public entrepreneurs and the division of programmes, the mid-term evaluation in 2003 and the final
work between public authorities. It will then be possible to evaluation report.

Brussels, 21 September 2000.

The President
of the Committee of the Regions
Jos CHABERT

Opinion of the Committee of the Regions on the ‘Communication from the Commission to the
Council, the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Comittee of the
Regions: Acting Locally for Employment — a Local Dimension for the European Employment
Strategy’

(2001/C 22/05)

THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS,

having regard to the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the
Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions entitled Acting Locally for
Employment — a Local Dimension for the European Employment Strategy (COM(2000)196 final);

having regard to the decision of the Commission on 7 April 2000, under the first paragraph of Article 265
of the Treaty establishing the European Community, to consult it on this matter;

having regard to the decision taken by its president on 17 April 2000, to draw up an opinion on this
matter and to instruct Commission 6 for Employment, Economic Policy, Single Market, Industry and
SMEs to undertake the preparatory work;

having regard to its opinion on the Proposal for a Council Regulation (EC) laying down general provisions
on the Structural Funds, adopted on 17 September 1998 (CdR 167/98 fin) (1);

having regard to its opinion on the Communication from the Commission — From guidelines to action:
the National Action Plans for Employment and the Communication from the Commission — Proposals
for guidelines for Member States’ employment policies 1999, adopted on 19 November 1998 (CdR
279/98 fin) (2);

having regard to its opinion on forthcoming economic policy guidelines, adopted on 19 November 1998
(CdR 110/98 fin) (3);

(1) OJ C 373, 2.12.1998, p. 1.
(2) OJ C 51, 22.2.1999, p. 59.
(3) OJ C 51, 22.2.1999, p. 63.
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having regard to its opinion on territorial pacts for employment, and the link between them and the
European Union’s structural policies, adopted on 3 June 1999 (CdR 91/99 fin) (1);

having regard to its opinion on the Report of the Business Environment Simplification Task Force
(BEST) and the Commission Communication — Promoting entrepreneurship and competitiveness: the
Commission’s response to the BEST task force report, adopted on 3 June 1999 (CdR 387/98 fin) (2);

having regard to its resolution on the European Employment Pact, adopted on 2 June 1999 (CdR 156/99
fin) (3);

having regard to its opinion on the Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European
Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — The competitiveness
of European enterprises in the face of globalisation: How it can be encouraged, adopted on 18 November
1999 (CdR 134/99 fin) (4);

having regard to its opinion on the Proposal for guidelines for Member States’ employment policies
2000, adopted on 18 November 1999 (CdR 360/99 fin) (5);

having regard to its resolution on the implementation of the European Employment Strategy, adopted on
12 April 2000 (CdR 461/99 fin) (6);

having regard to the draft opinion (CdR 187/200 rev. 1) unanimously adopted by Commission 6 on
30 June 2000 (rapporteur: Mrs Bresso, I-PES);

whereas with this communication, the European Commission seeks to promote a wide-ranging debate
extending beyond the EU institutions to which it is primarily addressed, and to this end will support a
series of transnational seminars that will deepen discussion on the various issues raised in the
communication;

whereas the process of consultation launched in April with a joint initiative of the European Commission
and the Committee of the Regions will close in December 2000 with a conference in Strasbourg organised
by the French Presidency, at which stock will be taken of the debate and the European Commission will
present the results of the consultations and look forward to the future,

adopted the following opinion at its 35th plenary session, held on 20 and 21 September 2000 (meeting
of 21 September).

The Committee of the Regions local authorities to fulfil their role rapidly and in full, as
part of the European employment strategy;

1. in the light of the opinions adopted to date on this 3. considers the territorial unit as the appropriate context
subject, warmly welcomes the Communication from the for boosting cooperation between local authorities, busi-
Commission — Acting Locally for Employment: A Local nesses and other actors, with the aim of promoting
Dimension for the European Employment Strategy; new employment opportunities and framing integrated
development policies;

2. welcomes the Commission’s announcement that a new
communication will be issued as soon as the debate on 4. points out that the Commission document uses the word
its present one closes, and emphasises that the future ‘local’ in two ways:
communication must offer practical measures enabling

a) firstly, to indicate that ‘acting locally’ is necessary
to create employment and upgrade existing jobs,
arguing that employment prospects for the unem-
( 1) OJ C 293, 13.10.1999, p. 1.
ployed population of the territory can be visibly
( 2) OJ C 293, 13.10.1999, p. 48. improved, in particular by acting locally (through
( 3) OJ C 293, 13.10.1999, p. 70. training, territorial cooperation for development,
( 4) OJ C 57, 29.2.2000, p. 23. policies to foster entrepreneurship, development of
( 5) OJ C 57, 29.2.2000, p. 17. services and new occupations, active equal oppor-
( 6) OJ C 226, 8.8.2000, p. 43. tunities policies)
24.1.2000 EN Official Journal of the European Communities C 22/15

b) secondly, to express the determination of the Euro- growth, they have a major impact on local employment;
pean Union to pursue the aim of supporting local particularly regarding the arrival of new businesses and
employment initiatives; their personnel.

5. emphasises that local authorities can only act effectively
if interinstitutional relations are governed by a model 12. considers it essential to provide local authorities with the
based on the principle of subsidiarity, which directly opportunity to act in an innovative way to promote
underpins and permeates the communication from the employment. Local authorities can represent a real driving
Commission; force in shaping territorial projects if they have the right
professional skills and working structures. Appropriate
skills and structures, capable of understanding local
economic conditions, building up networks and planning
6. voices the willingness of Europe’s local authorities to ahead, are a prerequisite for promoting economic devel-
commit themselves fully to implementing the large opment and employment. In particular, opportunities for
number of existing initiatives and projects designed to access to the databases of central employment services,
create new, diverse, skilled and sustainable employment such as the EURES system, must be improved by using
opportunities. This is a fundamental challenge for local computer technology and on-line distribution;
authorities. They have, therefore, committed themselves
to meeting this challenge, together with the other EU
institutions and the Member States, and they recognise
that practical and positive action in favour of employment
will depend upon an effective partnerships between all 13. believes that there are two crucial preconditions for the
the social, economic and political bodies; development of new information and communication
technologies (NICT) in the context of local employment:
local authorities must themselves be equipped with NICT
and use them and, most importantly, NICT literacy and
7. believes that the European Union’s planned employment training must be provided by the public authorities.
target can only be that of full employment, understood
as a formal commitment by all the institutions to put
into practice the right to work of all citizens;

14. believes in consequence that the instruments provided
by the EU to regional and local authorities for local
8. points out, in this regard, that local authorities’ responsi-
employment and development policy must be developed
bilities and their proximity to citizens’ needs make them
and fleshed out, both through the European Social Fund,
key partners, crucial to the success of the European
the Structural Funds, Community initiative projects and
employment strategy;
the EAGGF, and by identifying new instruments,
especially under the future sixth framework programme
on research. This is what the Directorate-General for
Regional Policy has just done in the guidelines for
9. draws attention to and supports the CEMR’s campaign innovative ERDF action under for the 2000-2006 period;
launched with the adoption of the ‘Act locally for
employment’ charter, which seeks to promote a political
debate on employment in all regional and local councils;

15. agrees with the Commission that preparatory and pilot
10. repeats its view, as set out in its opinion on the Proposal actions and calls for tender should be launched, in order
for guidelines for Member States’ employment policies to identify good practice in developing innovative and
2000, that local and regional authorities are unique in experimental employment strategies at local level. In
their crucial dual role in generating employment. Firstly, particular, it considers it important to:
by working in partnership with local partners and
specialist groups, they help to provide an environment
that promotes job creation, and secondly, they actively
promote the development of businesses through local — prepare and test a methodology for mainstreaming
economic strategies; employment aspects in all local policies and
assessing their spin-off in terms of job creation;

11. therefore agrees with the communication’s comment that
because of the wide range of powers exercised by local — integrate in such a way that welfare mechanisms are
and regional authorities in areas which are often vital to taken into account in local development policies;
C 22/16 EN Official Journal of the European Communities 24.1.2000

— give, greater backing to all territorial cooperation — encourage the creation of business incubators
instruments for development and employment (ter- attached to universities and research centres, to
ritorial pacts, area pacts etc.); foster business generated by taking out patents
on research results, and to promote greater SME
competitiveness;
— promote the preparation of local action plans for
employment;
— exploit support and consultancy structures, includ-
ing one-stop-shop strategies (e.g. the ‘one-stop-shop
for productive activities’ in Italy), with the aim of
creating a climate more favourable to business
16. stresses that local authorities have, in recent years,
development, particularly SMEs and micro-busi-
conducted numerous outstanding experiments both to
nesses;
create employment opportunities within their own terri-
tory, and especially to improve the employability of the
long-term unemployed, partly made possible by European
projects and funds. Public aid to promote employment — strengthen the search for sources of employment
will therefore also continue to be essential in future. In matching the growing needs of modern society,
this context, however, free collective bargaining must not together with the use of natural, artistic and cultural
be sidelined and employment protection provisions must assets and, in terms of lifestyle, personal fulfilment
not be undermined. Active labour-market policy instru- and leisure activities;
ments should rather be developed;

— pay special attention to encouraging and developing
actions making it easier to apply the principle of
17. believes that a catalogue of significant initiatives meriting equality of opportunity and to reconcile family life
attention should be prepared, with a view to bench- and work, with the aim of increasing the local rate
marking between local and regional authorities; of female employment;

21. stresses the need to draw out territorial potential and/or
18. emphasises that the principle of subsidiarity must be new needs, by means of an in-depth analysis of local
strictly applied with regard to future EU initiatives on and regional situations with a view to launching new
local employment policies. In this respect, it considers it initiatives. There are numerous ideas and opportunities
crucial that policy and action programming be entrusted to sound out in this sphere, but coordinated action is
to the regions in partnership with local authorities, while needed on the part of a range of local actors in order to
programme implementation and proposals for actions channel emerging entrepreneurship towards outlets and
and projects should be the responsibility of local auth- activities which are feasible in market terms;
orities and of structures emerging from territorial cooper-
ation, which are best placed to adopt local solutions for
local problems. By the same token, local authorities
should not overlook coordination between each other;
22. emphasises that in planning local development policy
with a view to job creation, it is necessary to:

19. is convinced — given the faltering impetus of the paid
— concentrate on the construction of ‘short networks’,
employment/large company combination, which marked
i.e. the generation of social capital consisting of links
one phase in western economic development, with the
and cooperation between development actors within
spread of new types of business and self-employment on
a given territory,
a small or micro scale, which are more dynamic and
capable of meeting the challenges of globalisation —
that all instruments for fostering entrepreneurship and
flexibility should be developed; — place territorial units in a global context, concentrat-
ing on the creation of ‘long networks’, i.e. providing
conventional and innovative infrastructure;

20. therefore deems it essential to:
23. in the light of the difficulty in defining the ‘third sector’
in a way acceptable to all countries, and of legal,
— focus special attention on business creation instru- operational, economic and structural differences, con-
ments, particularly those aimed at young people and siders that the most practicable method for identifying
women and at the development of new technologies third sector organisations is to take the legislation of the
(provided they are geared to business creation); country in question as a starting-point;
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24. stresses that attention must be paid to the different legal training and education, which represent an important
systems in the various Member States, and to the varying means of boosting individuals’ skills;
definitions of ‘third sector organisation’;

25. confirms that the third sector has dual potential, firstly for 32. argues that this focus on people, and on their individual
creating new jobs, increasing employment and devising training, must not be overlooked when framing new
useful social projects, and secondly for transforming the vocational training schemes as a part of the on-going
way work is shaped and organised; improvement of the processes and people directing them;

26. attaches crucial importance to distinguishing the third 33. believes that many of these problems can be resolved by
sector from the type of solidarity exercised by political general support and promotion policies for the sector,
society and from the market economy and informal particularly by local institutions focusing greater attention
networks. The third sector is organised from the bottom on the third sector;
up, free of constraints;

27. judges it vital to provide the third sector with support to 34. fully agrees on the important role to be played by public
create and retain new jobs, particularly where they involve employment services in matching labour supply and
those suffering employment disadvantages (e.g. the dis- demand;
abled). Whether this is to be done via a series of tax and
economic measures, particularly in terms of business
start-up assistance, will depend on the legislation of the
countries in question; 35. is convinced that the capacity to create employment can
be significantly increased if the public services can
effectively bring training policy into line with local
28. views the questions raised by the Commission in this and regional needs, forging interinstitutional information
regard to be relevant, but directed towards only one part networks linking the local, regional and national levels
of the problem, namely the financial support needed by and the economic and social actors involved. Human
the third sector in order to grow, and therefore calls for resource training is the most effective active policy, and a
research to be promoted into the efficacy of the innova- judicious blend of education, training and the employ-
tive legislative arrangements already introduced in some ment market is the only way of meeting the commitments
countries; entered into at the Lisbon summit, according to which
the Member States must increase the employment rate by
10 % over the next ten years;
29. believes that, since potential for employment growth in
the third sector is the most likely to be successfully
realised at local level, the focus should be on new
sources of employment such as neighbourhood services, 36. believes there to be no contradiction between local
environmental management and conservation, and com- management of the employment market and national
munity-based cultural activities At the same time, encour- measures regulating the market. It is clear that the
agement and support for social economy enterprises, as national and regional legislative framework is responsible
a valid and effective alternative way for unemployed for certain rights and protections unavailable to individual
people to re-establish themselves on the labour market, citizens: the local level is confirmed as the natural
should not be neglected.; dimension for specific initiatives to operate in. Talk has
long been of local employment markets rather than a
single employment market;

30. underlines its full awareness of the radical changes
affecting the third sector, and recognises that a higher
quality of service and a more professional approach 37. stresses the need to avoid excessive regulation both
are needed, as highlighted by the communication. The nationally and locally;
profound organisational changes under way challenge
the way management is traditionally conceived. Slimmed-
down, participative organisations capable of maximising
available human potential are coming increasingly to the
38. views innovative forms of local action not just as an
fore;
option, but a pre-requisite for meeting the targets set by
the Lisbon summit. To this end, the necessary legal
machinery must be put in motion to provide local
31. is aware that the third sector consists largely of care/welfa- authorities should be provided with the legal powers they
re activities. The natural consequence is a commitment to need to act in this area;
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39. consequently considers cooperation between the social of such projects, in order to evaluate and disseminate the
partners as a vital method for planning and implementing results. To achieve this, the associations of local auth-
territorial employment market management. It is aware orities which exist in all the Member States must be
that this is an initial step, which must be followed by involved. The added value of local development lies in
forms of local partnership, in which various actors the identification of good practice and its dissemination,
representing different interests can identify common technical assistance and organised exchange of experi-
concerns, focus on communication between each other ences.
and embrace flexible, creative initiatives;
The key phase comes once good practices have been
40. believes that only in such a context can effective action identified: exploitation of the experience acquired and
be taken to introduce forms of flexibility in keeping with preparation of instruments and structures (such as devel-
local employment market conditions and productivity opment agencies or associations of local authorities)
differences within the territory concerned; working to transfer know-how. Support for the establish-
ment and running of such intermediaries is therefore
necessary. Similarly vital is circulation of information, as
41. considers it extremely important for local and regional a tool to be used by local actors;
government organisations to play a concrete role in
drawing up and implementing National Action Plans for 44. mindful that the Vienna European Council recommended
Employment. The Committee has already voiced its that ESF reform be used to boost support for employment
agreement with such involvement, in its opinion on strategy and tasked the new Objective 3 with developing
the Communication from the Commission — From a real employment policy at local level, highlights the
guidelines to action: the National Action Plans for value of this instrument which, originally oriented mainly
Employment, in which it stressed that it wanted to play a towards training activities, now offers a wide range of
full role in both consultation on the national action plans, aspects and working possibilities, such as back-up for
and their implementation; employment services, support for business start-up and
development, the development of new sources of employ-
42. feels that all initiatives fostering partnership activities ment, including the social economy, fostering of an
should be supported and promoted, and that in order to enterprise culture among students, etc. The Community’s
fully exploit territorial growth and employment potential, new EQUAL initiative is also crucially important, on
steps should be taken to give responsibility to local account of the opportunity it offers to create local
private and public actors, and to encourage participation development partnerships for employment: local and
and agreement on solutions, while respecting the division regional authorities should be involved in implementing
of powers; the initiative;

43. in this regard, believes that the resources earmarked for 45. notes that the real success of the European Employment
the pilot projects should be increased, and that a clear Strategy depends largely upon effective coordination
information strategy should follow the implementation between the regional and local levels.

Brussels, 21 September 2000.

The President
of the Committee of the Regions
Jos CHABERT