On 15th March 2019, Employment and Social Affairs ministers met in Brussels. On this occasion, the EPSCO Council adopted the Joint Employment Report 2019 (JER). The JER provides an annual overview of the main employment and social developments, as well as member states’ reform actions, in line with the Guidelines for the Employment Policies of the member states. The overview is based on the social scoreboard, a central tool for monitoring performance in the employment and social domains, and convergence towards better living and working conditions. In particular, it helps monitor the situation of Member States on measurable dimensions of the European Pillar of Social Rights, complementing the existing monitoring tools, in particular the Employment Performance Monitor and the Social Protection Performance Monitor. While the social scoreboard does not (yet) cover all principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, it is a useful tool to monitor progress in some areas. It notably includes 14 headline indicators that assess employment and social trends at large, including indicators on childcare, the gender employment gap, the risk of poverty and social exclusion, and more.
Some conclusions of the social scoreboard analysis 2019 include the following:
- Greece, Italy, and Romania score critical on the gender employment gap, compared to Finland, Lithuania and Sweden as “best performers”;
- Bulgaria, Spain, Latvia and Lithuania face a “critical situation” in terms of income inequality compared to the best performance of the Czech Republic, Finland, Slovenia and Slovakia;
- Croatia, Greece, Italy and Spain face a “critical situation” when it comes to their employment rate, compared to the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK as the “best performers”;
- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Poland and Slovakia score critical on the participation of children aged less than 3 to formal childcare, compared to France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal as “best performers”;
- Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania face a “critical situation” when looking at levels of digital skills, while Finland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden perform the best.
- Latvia faces a “critical situation” in terms of self-reported unmet need for medical care (no “best performers” identified through the methodology, while 12 countries are “better than average”);
COFACE Families will continue to monitor reforms in the social and employment fields based on the Social Scoreboard indicators and the EU Semester process, while also advocating for an improvement in the scope of the scoreboard indicators to cover the full 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The full outcome of the EPSCO Council meeting can be found here.