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European Employment strategy: The Role of Local Agencies and Partners


The Commissioner with responsibility for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou, spoke of the important role of local and regional organisations in the European Employment Strategy in her address to the European Employment Week Conference last week.

Securing the involvement of local organisations in the application of the strategy was of vital importance, she said. She told delegates that the Employment Strategy
could only succeed if they focussed their services and resources and their economic development and partnership potential on the objectives set out in the Strategy.

She outlined three strategies for building a stronger local and regional involvement in the Employment Strategy:

1. The unique role of the local level in the application of the Employment Strategy must be acknowledged and promoted. It was at local level where partnership action must apply European objectives and national policies to the unique problems and opportunities that make up the local picture, she said. She also noted that one of the most interesting results of the Commission's review of the 1999 national
Action Plans was that many countries have embarked on a "devolution process" as far as the responsibility for employment actions is concerned.

2.  Local agencies and partners must be supported in making local development a central part of the armoury of European employment policy. She emphasised that the Commission had proposed to strengthen the focus on local development for the year 2000. She stressed that small and medium sized enterprises would need support in facing up to the challenges of globalisation and rapid technological change and the provision of such support required the active involvement of local partners.

3.  The Structural Funds, in their support for the European Employment Strategy, must support local development which is becoming a recognised and indispensable ingredient of an integrated approach to employment policy.


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