Correspondent's Choice

This story about the Europe 2020 strategy was published by EurActiv on 19th March 2010.

In a meeting with the president of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, the Spanish, Belgian and Hungarian labour ministers, representing the current and upcoming rotating presidencies of the EU, discussed the fundamental differences between EU social and finance ministers, as spelled out in the conclusions of the respective councils.

The ‘Europe 2020’ strategy should include both short and long-term measures and tackling unemployment should be an overriding objective, stressed the three labour ministers.

Wary of lifting anti-crisis measures too soon

“The economic crisis cannot be deemed to be over. We have the same number of jobs created as those destroyed by the crisis,” said Spanish Labour Minister Celestino Corbacho, noting that “we are not seeing net growth of new jobs yet”.

It would be wrong for Europe to let its guard down and reduce stimuli and supportive measures by the end of the year, as the Economics and Finance (ECOFIN) Council agreed to do earlier this week, said the Spanish labour minister.

EU finance ministers indeed emphasised the importance of combining cooperation on financial market regulation with “principles to underpin the coordinated withdrawal of short-term measures in labour and product markets” and called for their withdrawal by the end of 2010.

The communication gap between the finance and labour ministers seems to relate to their different approaches to economic growth.

“We need an economic growth strategy, but one that creates jobs,” stressed Belgian Labour Minister Joelle Milquet.

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