[OPE] Working fewer hours in Europe?

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Thu May 07 2009 - 08:38:32 EDT

EU opinion: shorter working week and more trainees
Volkskrant (Amsterdam) 07 May 2009

PRAGUE - The Netherlands and other EU countries should fight rising unemployment with temporarily shorter working weeks and many more places for young trainees. Employees should get courses in their free hours to refresh their knowledge. That's the message of a ten-point plan made on Thursday in Prague by the first EU summit on unemployment. The intention is that the leaders of the 27 EU countries adopt the recommendations during an EU summit in mid-June.

Unemployment in the EU is expected to grow from 9 to 11 percent next year. Over 26 million Europeans are currently classified as involuntarily unemployed.

The leaders of the Czech Republic, the European Commission, European trade unions and employers organizations formulated the recommendations on Thursday. "Fighting unemployment is the highest priority of the European Commission during the economic crisis," said President Jose Manuel Barroso of the European Commission. "Europe is not only an economic project, it is also a social project."

European employers and trade unions respond happily to the start of a European action against unemployment. "It is a difficult time for workers and entrepreneurs," said Ernest-Antoine Seillière, head of employers' organization BusinessEurope. According to him, the EU can create another 3.5 million jobs, among other things by supplying extra credit to businesses.

The European trade union ETUC believes that EU countries urgently need to launch more powerful recovery plans. 'Otherwise, the cost to society in the long run will be even higher, "said ETUC-leader John Monks. The union will put its case next week in Prague and Brussels among other places. http://www.volkskrant.nl/economie/article1194853.ece/EU-advies_kortere_werkweek_en_meer_trainees

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