ROMA EMPLOYMENT PROJECT - ADVISORY BOARD MEETING
MEETING REPORT

19 January 2004
Palais de l’Europe

 

INDEX

REPORT

APPENDIX I: Final List of participants

APPENDIX II: Final Agenda

APPENDIX III: Bosnia and Herzegovina and “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

APPENDIX IV: The Bucharest Declaration

COOPERATION ON EMPLOYMENT IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE: REVIEW OF EMPLOYMENT POLICIES AND OF THE PERFORMANCE OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES IN THE STABILITY PACT’S BENEFICIARY COUNTRIES; TERMS OF REFERENCE

COUNTRY REVIEW OF EMPLOYMENT POLICY: OUTLINE FOR NATIONAL REPORTS

 


REPORT

Ms. Kiers (Chair) welcomed the participants and opened the meeting.

The agenda was adopted with some minor amendments proposed in writing by Mrs. Zoon.

Before starting the discussions, Ms. Kiers gave an overview of the progress achieved in the preparation of national reports and asked Mr. Sarajlic (BiH) and Mr. Ibrahimi (“the FYROM”) to share their findings with the participants to the meeting. The figures are briefly presented in Appendix III.

The sharing of information shows that the major issues to be dealt with are:

In BiH:

a) Discrimination
b) Citizenship/Registration
c) Education

In “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”:

a) Education
b) Unemployment
c) Women unemployment


The co-operation process for employment in South East Europe

Ms. Kempf, administrator at the Social Policy Department of the Council of Europe, informed the meeting that the South East Europe Ministerial Conference on Employment was held in Bucharest on 30-31 October 2003.

This Conference was co-organised by the Council of Europe and the Romanian and Belgian governments, under the auspices of the Stability Pact and was marked by the launch of a co-operation process for employment in South East Europe.

This co-operation will take place via working groups, which will aim at:
- reviewing the national employment policies;
- enhancing the performance of employment services by training employment officers/service providers;
- encouraging job creation, paying particular attention to the most vulnerable.

The methodology adopted is the following:
- every country (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Moldova, Serbia and Montenegro, “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”) will prepare for April 2004 a report containing an in-depth analysis of the labour market situation, an identification of the needs of the labour market and a description of the policies undertaken to respond to these needs.
- Bulgaria and Romania will not take part in the reporting exercise as they have already undergone the Joint Assessment Paper process with the assistance of the European Commission.
- The ILO will then analyse in-depth two country reports per year (Albania and Croatia in 2004) and will produce, in close cooperation with the countries concerned, a Country Review of Employment Policy (CREP).
- A peer review of employment policies will then be organised on the basis of the national reports, with all participating countries, including those not under review by ILO.

The launch of the co-operation process should:
- restore confidence and dialogue in the region and strengthen social dialogue at national level;
- prepare the countries of the region for beginning negotiations on employment related aspects of EU membership;
- establish a more stable environment.

The Final Declaration of the Conference and its Appendix, containing the operational modalities for the co-operation process, as well as the Terms of Reference of the two working groups are attached (Appendix IV).

The Advisory Board (hereinafter referred to as “the AB”) asked the Social Policy Department to share the countries reports opinions with the consultants so that they get additional info on the general situation of employment in the respective countries and agreed on co-operating with the Social Policy Department by providing information concerning the employment condition of Roma and by suggesting (where possible) solutions to overcome the main obstacles to be faced by Roma groups.


1. Report(s)

  • What should be the aim/goal of the country reports and the final report – brainstorming
    The report (s) should identify the main problems: discrimination, unemployment, education.

    The report(s) should show the reasons for Roma discrimination. What are the real obstacles? Why is it so difficult to motivate parents to send their children to school? What are the main barriers in accessing education? Are the meals free at school? Are the books free?

    The report(s) should also underline the need of setting up a legal framework proving Roma with free legal aid; accessible appeal procedures; ombudsman services; etc.

    The report(s) should give recommendations on Employability. It should suggest how to bring people to any kind of employment (even informal). The step further will consist in showing how to bring them from the informal economy to the formal.

    The report(s) should suggest a short term strategy for positive discrimination in order to provide Roma with jobs (even unskilled).

    The report(s) should focus on education. The report(s) should treat the language problem as a big issue, e.g. pre-school learning of the country language could strengthen the integration of children. It should also suggest measures for improving Roma participation in pedagogical studies (but avoiding Roma schools which could promote segregation).
     

  • Expected outcome/findings, relevance and feasibility – what is the focus (now every chapter almost has a new focus)
    This point was partially discussed. The AB agreed on the fact that the reports should help in reducing discrimination and improving education policies for Roma (paying particular attention to the need of scholarships for Roma and Roma representatives at school).

    The meeting agreed on introducing a methodology section including a detailed list of terminology, such as labour force service, registered employment, self-employment, youth, etc. Mr.Ivanov and Mr. O’Higgins accepted to draw-up a list of useful terms to be adopted.

    This glossary should be the same for all countries reports and should help to compare figures.
     

  • How can we cut and reduce the quantity of data?
    This point was not discussed.
     

  • Are we assuming that the main obstacle is discrimination or also education/vocational abilities/lack of skills, Roma being more interested in self-employment (could be linked to discrimination), there are many angles and how to address these in a consistent way?
    The AB agreed that we can not assume anything. We should evaluate all the possibilities and follow several streams, in order to improve public and self-employment. The AB is aware that Roma consider public employment as stability compared to private sector, which does not provide real opportunities (at least in the short term).

    The participants underlined the need of schooling.
     

  • How can the reports have an influence (preferably positive) on the Roma Access to Employment situation in the Balkans
     

  • How can we convince National authorities to provide data to consultants? Which is the best way to approach them?
    Probably using the mainstreaming of the social policy department (see above).
     

  • Whom to address, apart from National authorities and employment agencies and local authorities.
    This point was not discussed
     

  • How to address Roma themselves?
    This point was not discussed


2. Quality of the consultants’ report-evaluation

The participants exchanged views on the methodology to be adopted. Various proposals were examined:
a) submitting the reports to the AB for comments;
b) contracting national consultants for checking the information provided;
c) contracting an external international consultant (INTRAC/Alan Phillips) for checking the reports.
No final decision was reached.


2. bis. Fact-finding Agenda

The AB asked the international consultants to submit the timeframe of the fact finding mission for approval.


3. Cooperation with UNDP

Mr Ivanov informed the meeting that the UNDP survey will take place in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (probably 2 surveys – for the Federation of BiH and for the Republika Srpska), Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro (2 surveys – for Serbia and for Montenegro. The one on Montenegro was already finalised and distributed at the AB meeting), “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” and perhaps in Kosovo.

The main objective of this survey is to provide quantitative data and figures describing the household profile of the countries concerned. The survey will be divided in three sections: Roma, IDP’s and Refugees, and majority of the population.

The questionnaire will be finalised in February and it will be addressed to the Head (as well as to all members) of the household, covering the following areas of investigation: health, education employment, incomes.

The Council of Europe will have access to the raw-information as soon as available (likely March 2004).The processed data will be available in June 2004 and the data’s analyse will be available within 8 months.

The total budget of this survey is approximately 120/130 000 €, co-funded by the Council of Europe and likely the FAO. The Council of Europe will grant 20 000 € to the UNDP survey and will receive statistical information particularly regarding the employment situation (contract under preparation).

Mr. Ivanov underlined that Roma have been involved in all steps of this survey. A Romanian Roma statistician might be recruited to help analysing the data.


4. Timeframe & co-operation with other organisations (e.g. OSCE)

Due to time constraint, point 4 was not discussed. The AB will be consulted by the Secretariat by e-mail.


5. Final Meeting/Presentation of the report – what, where and how

The AB discussed about the possible venue and date of the Final Meeting. Some sites (Belgrade, Budapest) and dates (September or October 2004, probably October) were evaluated. No decision was reached. This point will be further discussed accordingly with the CoE’s meeting agenda.
 



APPENDIX I

Final List of participants


BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
Mr. Amir Sarajlic
Londja 90 (apartment 92)
72000 Zenica
Tel. / Fax: +387 32 402 128
Mobile Phone: +387 61 229 717
E-mail : Amir_Sarajlic@wvi.org

ITALY
Mr. Niall O’Higgins
University of Salerno
Department of Economics and Statistics
Via Don Melillo
84084 Fisciano (SA)
Tel : +39 08 119 36 24 63
Fax : +39 08 996 20 49
Mobile Phone: +39 338 19 1 351
E-mail : nohiggins@unisa.it

NETHERLANDS
Ms. Judith Kiers
Bankastraat 50-3
1094 EG Amsterdam
Tel/fax +31 20 668 5453
Mobile Phone: +31 (0)6 5242 1987
E-mail : jpakiers@xs4all.nl

SLOVAK REPUBLIC
Mr. Andrey Ivanov
United Nations Development Programme
Regional Bureau for Europe and the CIS
Grösslingova 35
81109 Bratislava
Tel : +421 2 59 337 431
Fax : +421 2 59 337 450
E-mail : andrey.ivanov@undp.org

SWEDEN
Mrs. Soraya Post
Otherdahlsgatan 6 D
417 16 Göteborg
S – Sverige
Tel : +46 31 22 14 17
E-mail : sorayapost@hotmail.com

“THE FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC of MACEDONIA”
Mr. Ibrahim Ibrahimi
Street “72”, N° 9a 1230
Gostivar
Mobile Phone: + 389 70 245 986
E-mail : iibrahimi@romaversitas.edu.mk


SECRETARIAT – COUNCIL OF EUROPE

Mr. Michaël Guet
Secretary of the MG-S-ROM
Division of Roma/Gypsies

Mrs. Eleni Tsetsekou
Programme Manager
Division of Roma/Gypsies


Ms. Françoise Kempf
Administrator
Social Policy Department

Ms. Elena Piscopo
Administrative Assistant
Social Policy Department


Ms. Nelly Tasnadi
Assistant
Division of Roma/Gypsies
 



 


APPENDIX II

Final Agenda


1. Report(s)

  • what should be the aim/goal of the country reports and the final report – brainstorming

  • Expected outcome/findings, relevance and feasibility – what is the focus (now every chapter almost has a new focus)

  • How can we cut and reduce the quantity of data?

  • Are we assuming that main obstacle is discrimination or also education/vocational abilities/lack of skills, Roma being more interested in self-employment (could be linked to discrimination), there are many angles and how to address these in a consistent way.

  • How can the reports have an influence (preferably positive) on the Roma Access to Employment situation in the Balkans

  • How can we convince National authorities to provide data to consultants? Which is the best way to approach them?

  • Whom to address apart from National authorities and employment agencies and local authorities.

  • How to address Roma themselves?

2. Quality of the consultants’ reports-evaluation

2.bis. Fact-finding Agenda

  • What exactly should the agenda be?

  • What we have to find out?

3. Cooperation with UNDP

  • their statistics and relevance to our report(s), how to incorporate these statistics
     

4. Timeframe & cooperation with other organisations (e.g. OSCE)

5. Final Meeting/Presentation of the report – what, where and how




 


APPENDIX III

Bosnia and Herzegovina

The main problem encountered in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the lack of data on Roma population. The official figures from the census show 8100 Roma living in BiH, according to Roma NGO’s this number goes up to 15000. The figures in the census are low for Roma as they tend to be registered either as “others” or as one of the 3 constituent nations (Serbs, Croats or Bosnians).

Before the war, 90 % of Roma were declared as working, whereas nowadays most of them are unemployed or work in the informal economy.

According to Roma, the major problems for employment are:
1. Discrimination
2. Economic Situation (large unemployment in BiH)
2. Registration/Citizenship
3. Education
4. War/Post-conflict situation

In view of the large numbers of Roma people living in BiH there should be quota for Roma working in Public Administration. There are 32 Roma employed in the public sector in 4 towns. They are mainly employed in communal companies (cleaning sector).

There are big differences in the employment situation of Roma in towns and in rural areas.

Due to the lack of primary education, Roma are not permitted to be self-employed (accordingly to Bosnian regulations, only someone who holds a primary school diploma can start his own business).

Roma National Council
Roma National Council – established in 2002 – has drafted a national action plan to be implemented between 2002 and 2006. This is 5 pages text and contains a summary of basic needs. The total budget – 5,000 Euro – does not even cover the transportation costs for the Roma Members.

There are 32 Roma NGOs represented in the Roma National Congress.

In BiH, we can identify 4 different groups of Roma. The relationships between the rural and the urban Roma are not good. Only the Dinosaurs are represented in Roma National Council.

Education and vocation training
Roma are not aware of the value of education. The main problem is the lack of complete primary education. The majority of Roma only went through 4th grade primary school, not further. 33% of Roma have no education at all.

Moreover, there is no governmental policy on vocational training; the latter is organised on the spot accordingly to the labour market’s needs.



Women condition
The condition of Roma women is rather complicated. Most of them are not registered and in general they are more illiterate than the men. Roma women are usually able to master some Latin script but not Cyrillic. 60% of Roma women speak Romanes, whereas this proportion is the opposite compared to the children (they do speak the national language of the host country).

Due to many unregistered Roma marriages, Roma woman do not enjoy social benefits or health protection.

Their economic profile is the following: 93% housewife, 7% employed in textile sector, cooking or cleaning.

Roma youth
Roma children attend Roma schools or schools for people with special needs. In fact, due to the lack of legal status, they are not accepted in “normal” school.

Moreover, even if primary education is free, Roma families have problems in providing for books, which are not free of cost.

Information to Roma
This should be in Romanes, but little is being done. It would help if there were Roma employees in public administration to attend to the Roma.

In the Sarajevo canton the Roma are in a slightly better position, as they know their rights better.

Roma mobility
Roma prefer to live and work in one place, but in order to find employment they move around, especially in the Summer e.g. seasonal begging.


“the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”

The total population of “the FYRoM” is 2 million people, of which 66% Macedonians, 22 % Albanians, 4 % Turkish and 2.63% Roma. According to the official census there are 53 000 Roma living in the country (unofficially this figure raises to 80 000 and goes up to 123 000 according to Roma NGO’s and Roma political Parties).

The three big issues to be dealt with are (in order of importance):
a) Education
b) Unemployment
c) Women unemployment

Education
According to the Ohrid Agreement, Roma have the right to education in their mother tongue.
- 10% Roma have full primary education
- Presently 100 Roma students attend university – they have a quota for tuition waiver. The quota system is rather new and complicated; briefly there are quotas for each minority, and different quotas for different departments. If they do not fit in a quota, students can attend universities by paying. Next year this rule will change again.

According to a recent agreement, there is a quota of 2.6 % for Roma employment in public administration. Therefore the Public Administration will soon employ 20 Roma in state institution (currently they are being trained) and another 50 Roma in September 2004.

Only Roma with a high school diploma are allowed to work in the public sector. In the near future, an Advisor for Roma issues will be appointed by the Government.

Unemployment
There are 400 000 unemployed in the country, of which 16 000 Roma (unemployed for at least 4 years). With the adoption of the Brankov Law, 6 000 long-term unemployed out of 400 000 were employed and they gain social security benefits and pension rights.

Social Security benefits amount 50 Euro for a family of 4 people (2 adults, 2 children – with 3 children no social security is provided, which is a discriminatory measure towards the Albanian community who tend to have large families).

The National Strategy on Employment has been presented at the end of January.

Women unemployment
Mainly due to early marriages, 95% of Roma women are unemployed (versus 36% of all FYROM women).
Many of these marriages are unregistered Roma marriages, especially in Skopje. Therefore many Roma women are not entitled to benefit from Health insurance.

The level of women education is very low as they tend to have no more then 5 years of primary education.

 



APPENDIX IV

The Bucharest Declaration

South East Europe Ministerial Conference on Employment (SEE-EC)
Bucharest , 30-31 October 2003

Improving Employment in South Eastern Europe


The Delegates to the Conference of Bucharest, meeting under the chairmanship of Mrs Elena Dumitru, Minister of Labour, Social Solidarity and Family of Romania, at her invitation and at the invitation of the Council of Europe and of the Belgian Federal Public Service Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue, under the auspices of the Initiative for Social Cohesion of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe,

Bearing in mind the expectations with regard to further cooperation with the EU and within the region,

Recalling the Thessaloniki Declaration adopted on the occasion of the EU-Western Balkans Summit on 21 June 2003,

Considering the important preparatory work leading to this Conference,


approved unanimously the following declaration :


We, the Ministers responsible for Employment of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Moldova, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and “the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia”, as well as the Head of the Economic Administration of UNMIK , recognise the common problems we face in the area of employment as a result of the restructuring linked to the transition to market economies, insufficient levels of investment as well as the damaging effects of the conflicts in the region in the 1990s.

We acknowledge:

• the substantial reduction in employment and, despite the reforms and restructuring already under way, the consistently high unemployment and relatively slow pace of job creation, the wide skill mismatches and regional disparities, and their adverse consequences for poverty and social cohesion;
• the need to improve employment policies and employment services, including training;
• the need to further develop specific measures and programmes to improve access to employment of vulnerable groups;
• the need to promote labour mobility and to remove obstacles preventing it;
• the need to improve social dialogue.
Together and in partnership with relevant national and international institutions, we are convinced that we can better address these common problems, through improvements of our policies, reinforcement of our institutional capacities, pooling of our expertise in employment matters, and improved co-ordination of available international assistance.


We commit ourselves to a process of regional co-operation in the areas of employment, labour markets and training, as described in detail in the Appendix to the present Declaration. The process, intended to better addressing the above-listed problems, is aimed at:

• preparing our future integration into the European Union by converging towards the objectives and guidelines of the European Employment Strategy;

• implementing the Council of Europe standards in employment matters – the European Social Charter and the Revised Social Charter – and creating a situation conducive to the application of Council of Europe Recommendations concerning the promotion of employment; and

• making operational the core elements of the International Labour Office’s Global Employment Agenda in our countries.


We are aware that the success of our effort will depend on the creation of a favourable investment climate based on macro-economic stability, full cooperation with social partners, sound legal and regulatory frameworks and governance standards as well as on the development of small and medium enterprises. In this context, we commit ourselves to concentrate our efforts on the following areas:

• promotion of entrepreneurship;
• greater mobility, by:

o  fostering a more flexible labour market but balanced with reasonable employment and income security for workers;
o examining the possibility of promoting the free movement of workers in the region by means of bilateral agreements;

• incentives for employment creation and training ;
• improvement of the performance of the national employment services;
• non-discrimination in access to employment, in remuneration and in working conditions, with particular attention to gender equality;
• handling of the social consequences of privatisations and restructurings;
• improvement of the quality of employment (contracts, remuneration, skills and qualifications, health and safety at work, employment related social protection, etc.);
• specific programmes for vulnerable groups (including access to credit);
• improvement of social dialogue and enhanced involvement of social partners in the formulation and implementation of social and economic policies;
• the transformation of undeclared work into regular work;
• adequate and comprehensive labour market information.

We issue a plea for assistance from international stakeholders to achieve the goals of this Declaration. We acknowledge the important support we have been receiving from international and bilateral institutions. In particular, we acknowledge the important analytical and policy development work of the International Labour Organisation, the Council of Europe and the World Bank.

Under the auspices of the Initiative for Social Cohesion of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, we look particularly to the Council of Europe and the International Labour Organisation for strategic guidance and support in ensuring an efficient follow-up to our meeting along the lines described in the Appendix.

We commit ourselves to meet again in the Spring of 2005 to assess progress achieved over the next 18 months in implementing the goals set out in this declaration.

Done in Bucharest on 31 October 2003.


(List of signatories)
 

APPENDIX

OPERATION OF THE PROCESS OF COOPERATION
ON EMPLOYMENT IN SOUTH EASTERN EUROPE

1. The Council of Europe is in charge of coordinating the process of cooperation, in close relation with the International Labour Office, under the auspices of the Social Cohesion Initiative of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.

2. The Ministers responsible for employment of the beneficiary countries of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe will approve and regularly update the objectives of the cooperation on employment as well as the programme of activities. They will meet every 18 months. The next meeting will take place in the Spring 2005.

3. An assessment process of national employment policies will be launched for each country:

3.1. This assessment process will take into account the key elements of the Global Agenda for Employment of the International Labour Organisation, the European Employment Strategy and the relevant Articles of the European Social Charter and of the Revised Charter and relevant Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe;

3.2. In the case of Bulgaria and Romania, the assessment process will rely on the Joint Assessment Papers (JAPs), prepared with the European Commission;

3.3. The national social partners will be fully associated in the process;

3.4. The assessment process will be inspired by the methodology applied between the European Commission and candidate countries in their cooperation on employment within the framework of the EU enlargement;

3.5. Employment experts from Belgium and other EU member states will be invited to contribute with their experience in implementing the European Employment Strategy;

4. A Permanent High-Level Committee (PHLC) composed of the General Directors of Employment of the beneficiary countries of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe will design the programme of activities; set up working groups; mobilise human and financial resources in support of the programme of activities; supervise its implementation and prepare the ministerial meetings.

4.1. The following partners will be able to participate in the meetings of the Permanent High Level Committee, as observers:

4.1.1. the social partners of the countries concerned by the review of national reports;
4.1.2. representatives of international organisations of social partners (IOE, ETUC);
4.1.3. representatives of interested international organisations (UNDP, UNECE, OSCE, OECD,…) and international financial institutions (World Bank, CEB, EBRD, EIB,..);
4.1.4. representatives of interested donor countries.

4.2. The technical contribution of the European Commission will help the process of cooperation.

4.3. The Permanent High-Level Committee will meet at least twice in between ministerial meetings. It will meet in Working Groups with experts to examine, in particular, the following questions:

4.3.1. Review of national employment policies (Working Group I). The Working Group I will meet under the leadership of the ILO;

4.3.2. Capacity-building, quality of service delivery in employment services and improvement of programmes specifically designed for vulnerable groups (Working Group II). The Working Group II will meet under the leadership of the Council of Europe;

4.3.3. Each Working Group will meet at least once in between ministerial meetings.

4.4. The Working Groups will pay particular attention to the identification of projects to be funded by international stakeholders and donors. The collection and coordination of demands and offers for assistance will be monitored by the Initiative for Social Cohesion of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.

5. The terms of reference and rules of procedure of the Working Groups will be set up at the first meeting of the Permanent High-Level Committee, to take place in Brussels on 9 and 10 December 2003, at the invitation of the Belgian Federal Public Service for Employment, Labour and Social Dialogue.

6. Financing the cooperation process:

The above-mentioned international organisations and international financial institutions are invited to provide long-term assistance to our process of cooperation on employment.

In particular, we ask for support from the stakeholders of the ISC of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe.

7. Entry into force of the process of cooperation:

The process of cooperation, as described above, will enter into force on 9 and 10 December 2003, at the occasion of the first meeting of the Permanent High-Level Committee.
 


COOPERATION ON EMPLOYMENT IN SOUTH EAST EUROPE

REVIEW OF EMPLOYMENT POLICIES AND OF THE PERFORMANCE OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES IN THE STABILITY PACT’S BENEFICIARY COUNTRIES


TERMS OF REFERENCE

Prepared at the first meeting of the Permanent High-Level Committee
Brussels, 9-10 December 2003


1. Background and justification

The armed conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990’s seriously affected the national economies and the national labour markets, not only of the countries directly involved in these conflicts, but also those of its neighbouring countries. The combined impact of direct war damages, economic embargo imposed on the belligerent countries, the lack of domestic capital for necessary large-scale restructuring and reluctance of foreign capital to come to the country due to political and economic uncertainties contributed to their much slower recovery and to high unemployment and underemployment of the population. In order to boost economic restructuring and growth in these countries, stabilise their political and social development, assist in resolving their disputes and pending problems and accelerate their integration into the European Union, the Stability Pact was concluded in 1999.

Among the Stability Pact objectives, the identification and analysis of the major problems and challenges in the area of social and employment policy is indicated as a very important issue for future successful development of these countries within the integrating Europe. Indeed, since 1989, all the Stability Pact countries have experienced dramatic employment losses and employment continued to decline even when these countries emerged from economic recession. The level of registered unemployment is very high and unemployment has a long-term character. Many of the jobless persons are young, first-time jobseekers but young workers also experience large labour turnover and a high incidence of short-term employment. The significant difference between registered unemployment and unemployment measured according to the ILO definition (the former exceeding the latter) is also characteristic in these countries, as many formally jobless persons are active in the informal sector. Other groups of population – those in employment or inactive – also frequently have second jobs in the informal sector. Typically, informal sector jobs are of a temporary nature and are of low quality, insecure and unprotected against accidents at work, occupational disease, etc. As the capacity of the formal economy to create new jobs is limited, informal employment is the only option for a large section of less competitive groups of population – the young without work experience, the elderly, women, persons with disabilities, low educated workers, members of minority groups, refugees and displaced persons and demobilised soldiers. According to household surveys on the social situation of the population, unemployment but also informal sector employment, is often combined with poverty.

These elements highlight the importance of a well-formulated active employment policy that would contribute to the creation of new employment, including through a higher inflow of foreign direct investment. Strengthening the institutional framework should result in a gradual formalisation of the informal economy. It is also necessary to improve the quality of employment by upgrading the level of education and skills of the labour force on the supply side and by enhancing the technological level of production and its organisation on the demand side. An important role in facilitating all these changes and movements in the labour market is to be played by sound labour market policies, directed in particular at vulnerable social groups. The improvement of the labour market and employment policies should be undertaken bearing in mind the development policies of the countries, and in particular their social inclusion and anti-poverty strategies, as employment is one of the key factors to reduce poverty and inequalities and to strengthen social cohesion.


2. Plan of action to address employment challenge

The South-East European Ministerial Conference on Employment held in Bucharest on 30-31 October 2003 acknowledged the serious employment challenges faced by the Stability Pact (SP) countries and called for regional cooperation in addressing these challenges so as to achieve major improvements in national employment policies.

The Final Declaration of the Bucharest Conference establishes the following key objectives for the cooperation on employment:

• To prepare the future integration of the SP countries into the European Union by converging towards the objectives and guidelines of the European Employment Strategy;

• To implement the Council of Europe standards in employment matters – the European Social Charter and the Revised Social Charter – and to create a situation conducive to the application of Council of Europe Recommendations concerning the promotion of employment; and

• To make operational the core elements of the International Labour Office’s Global Employment Agenda in the countries of South Eastern Europe.


The International Labour Office (ILO) and the Council of Europe (CoE) were requested to give strategic guidance and support in this effort. The whole process is taking place under the auspices of the Social Cohesion Initiative of the Stability Pact. The Ministers of the SP countries responsible for employment will approve and regularly update the objectives of this cooperation process and the programme of activities, which will be designed and supervised by the Permanent High-Level Committee, composed of the General Directors of Employment. The Permanent High-Level Committee will also set up two Working Groups for undertaking the reviews of national employment policies and employment services of the SP countries.

Working Group I, under the guidance of the ILO, will undertake a review of national employment policies as to their real impacts on labour market developments. The main objective will be to guide the tripartite constituents in the SP countries in undertaking an in-depth assessment of their national employment policy. The results of this evaluation can be used for strengthening their labour market institutions and making their employment and labour market policies more effective and influential. While direct recipients of the project will be the staff of the Government bodies, the labour market institutions and the social partners – employers’ associations and trade unions, i.e. the institutions responsible for formulation and implementation of the national employment policy, the intended beneficiaries will be the working-age population (i.e. employed and unemployed persons but also discouraged jobseekers) in the SP countries and in particular the less competitive groups of workers.

Working Group II will, under the guidance of the Council of Europe, undertake a review of the performance of employment services. It will pay particular attention to programmes and measures aimed at the most vulnerable groups of the population.

The objectives of the review are:
• to improve the quality of service delivery and to better adapt the services provided to the needs of the users of employment services (both jobseekers and employers);
• to promote legislative and practical measures to improve access to employment for all;
• to identify ways of improving access to employment and, where appropriate, self-employment for vulnerable groups;
• to help develop local partnerships with main stakeholders - among which the employment services play a key role - to better respond to the needs of local/regional labour markets;
• to increase cooperation and exchange of information among employment services in the region so as to facilitate greater labour mobility and, in the long term, the emergence of a regional labour market;
• to examine models of bilateral agreements in order to promote free movement of the workers in the region (taking into account Council of Europe and other instruments in the area of coordination of social security instruments).

The review process undertaken by both working groups will take into account the main instruments and texts elaborated by both the ILO and the Council of Europe, among which, in particular:

• Convention No. 122 on Employment Policy of the ILO, ratified by all the SP countries.
• Convention No. 88 on Employment Service, Convention No. 142 on Human Resources Development, Convention No. 158 on Termination of Employment, Convention No. 150 on Labour Administration, Convention No. 168 on Employment Promotion and Protection against Unemployment, Convention No. 100 on Equal Remuneration, Convention No. 111 on Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) and Convention No. 156 on Workers with Family Responsibilities.
• The European Social Charter and Revised European Social Charter of the Council of Europe.
• Other relevant Council of Europe documents: the Guidelines on local partnership for the development of employment, Recommendations of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe and other texts elaborated by the Council of Europe.

The review will be carried out bearing in mind the objectives and guidelines of the European Employment Strategy of the European Union.

Of particular relevance for the review are the following publications:
 

  • Labour markets in transition: Balancing flexibility and security in Central and Eastern Europe (ILO Geneva 2003) by S. Cazes and A. Nesporova;

  • Employment and labour market policies in transition countries (ILO Geneva 1999) by A. Nesporova;

  • Social Dialogue in Central and Eastern Europe (ILO Budapest 1999) edited by Giuseppe Casale;

  • Access to employment in South East Europe: an issue paper (Council of Europe, October 2003, SEER/Employment (2002) 1st. rev.) by Irena Zareva.
     

3. Objectives of the review of employment policies and of the performance of employment services

3.1. Long-term objective:

The review process intends to contribute towards promoting full, productive and freely chosen employment of men and women in the SP countries by assisting the policy makers and the social partners in the assessment of their national employment and labour market policies and in the improvement of their labour market impact and effectiveness.

3.2. Short-term objectives:

• To review and refine the national employment policies and labour market programmes of the countries involved so as contributing to a better response to their specific needs and to a visible improvement of the labour market situation.
• To improve the performance of the employment services, so as to enhance the quality of services delivery and to contribute to a better access to work for all citizens, particularly the most vulnerable.


4. Measurement of progress achieved

The following elements will be taken into consideration to measure the progress achieved through the implementation of the cooperation process:

• The extent to which the government, the social partners and other important institutions have reached consensus on how to reshape national employment and labour market policies.

• The extent to which the constituents have integrated the recommendations prepared by the ILO and the Council of Europe into the national employment and labour market policies and have allocated necessary funding for their implementation.

• Positive impact of the national employment and labour market policies on more
favourable employment and unemployment rates.

More measurable indicators are likely to be developed as a result of the implementation of the process. They will be included in the present terms of reference, as further elements of evaluation, at a later stage.


5. Main activities to be undertaken and working methodology

The major outputs of the project will be a series of country reviews of employment policy (CREP). In order to prepare the CREPs, the following activities are envisaged:

5.1. In-depth analysis and assessment are undertaken:

The CREPs will be based on national country reports that should analyse the national employment policy in the context of economic, employment and social developments of the country. These national reports should be produced annually by national ministries of labour after consultation with the social partners.

The reports should include: a) a general overview of the macro-economic context and developments; b) an analysis of the labour market situation and programmes and their development; c) a review of the progress in the formulation/refinement and implementation of national employment policy and of outcomes of applied labour market policies; d) an overview on the operation of the employment services and of their cooperation arrangements with the social partners and other relevant stakeholders; e) a description of programmes and measures aimed at improving access to work for the most vulnerable groups; and f) information on labour mobility in the region.

An outline for the national reports to be submitted to the ILO and the Council of Europe are appended to the present terms of reference. The outline will give indications as to the content of the report on employment policies and will also cover the performance of employment services, with a particular emphasis on access to work for vulnerable groups.

The national reports should be submitted to the ILO and the Council of Europe Secretariat for assessment. The deadline for submission of the first reports is 30 April 2004.

Based on exchanges of comments, including those of the social partners, the process should produce a CREP that will be discussed by the Permanent High-Level Committee. The ILO and the Council of Europe will collaborate in this in-depth assessment with the constituents in two SP countries per year, so that the whole project can be completed within 3 years.

Bulgaria and Romania have already prepared Joint Assessment Papers with the assistance of the European Commission. They will therefore not prepare annual reports and will not be submitted to a review of employment policy. However, their experience will be a source of inspiration for the other participating countries.

The draft CREPs will be discussed in the annual meetings of the Working Group I and II of the Permanent High-Level Committee and in national tripartite conferences (to be organised by the ILO) before they are finalised.


5.2. Organisation of peer reviews of national employment policy:

The countries which will not cooperate with the ILO and the Council of Europe on the in-depth assessment of their national employment policy in the respective year will also be requested to prepare an annual national policy report in line with the above-mentioned outline. Their reports will be assessed by the other participating countries. The two countries for which a CREP is under preparation and Bulgaria and Romania will each assess the employment policy of one of the four remaining countries.

The peer reviews will take place during the meetings of Working Groups I and II: a peer review of employment policies will take place within Working Group I and Working Group II will allow for a peer review of the performance of employment services.

5.3. Capacity building is undertaken:

During the CREP’s preparation process, the ILO and the Council of Europe will work closely with policy-makers and the social partners and will contribute towards their capacity-building. The social partners will thus assume an increasingly active role in the design and implementation of the national employment and labour market policies. The national tripartite conferences organised at the end of each CREP exercise and a sub-regional conference to take place at the end of the whole project will also strengthen the national capacity for management of labour market changes from the economic and social point of view.

Discussion of the CREPs in Working Groups I and II, as well as of peer reviews, will also be a valuable learning process for the policy-makers from all the SP countries. It will help them prepare good national policy reports on a regular basis and properly assess and better shape their policies.

5.4. Technical assistance is provided to the participating countries:

Technical assistance will be provided to the countries directly involved in the CREP exercise in setting up or reforming the main segments of their employment systems, enhancing efficiency of national labour market institutions (i.e. labour legislation, labour market policies, tax system, social protection schemes, etc) and in improving the quality of service delivery of the employment services. Technical assistance will start with the provision of guidelines to prepare the national employment policy report (see Appendices to the terms of reference). In the course of the preparation of the national reports, extensive commenting on early drafts and other advisory services will be offered.

Close cooperation with constituents and national experts is foreseen in the six Stability Pact countries (in Romania and Bulgaria the project will build on work done in cooperation with the European Commission). Two countries will benefit from this cooperation each year.

The ILO and the Council of Europe will provide:
• guidelines to prepare the national country reports (see Appendix);
• commenting and other advisory services for improving and finalising the reports;
• the report findings and policy conclusions will be discussed with the constituents in a tripartite national conference, to be organised by the ILO in cooperation with the Council of Europe in each country under review;
• the ILO and the Council of Europe will assist the countries in reflecting the policy recommendations in national employment policies.

For the ILO, the project will be designed, managed and backstopped by both the ILO/EMPSTRAT and the Sub-Regional Office Budapest in consultation with IFP/SOCIAL DIALOGUE and EUROPE. For the Council of Europe, the project will be prepared and implemented by the Secretariat of Directorate General of Social Cohesion/Department of Social Policies.


6. Monitoring, evaluation and reporting

The three-year cooperation process started in December 2003.

The three components of the process (i.e. assessment/capacity-building/programme implementation) should not be separated. Findings from the policy assessment will fit into capacity-building activities and will have practical application in the implementation of the employment programme.

The Permanent High-Level Committee will report on the progress achieved under the cooperation process to the Ministers responsible for employment of the participating countries at the Ministerial Conferences to be organised every 18 months. The next Ministerial Conference should take place in Spring 2005. The Ministers will revise, if needed, the present terms of reference.

At the end of the project, the ILO will prepare a summary report highlighting the general policy conclusions, the main achievements and the lessons learnt from the project. They will be discussed at a sub-regional conference in 2007 (to be organised by the ILO).

 


 

COUNTRY REVIEW OF EMPLOYMENT POLICY

OUTLINE FOR NATIONAL REPORTS


I. GENERAL OVERVIEW OF THE MACRO-ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL CONTEXT OF THE COUNTRY


1.1. Main macro-economic indicators and trends after 1989 until now: GDP growth rates, inflation and interest rates, productivity rates, public finance situation (current account balance, foreign debt), unemployment rates, foreign trade performance (foreign trade balance), FDI inflows, poverty level.

1.2. Economic reforms and policies adopted for building a market-based economic system and for macroeconomic stabilization and promotion of economic development. What has been their effect on employment and social development?

1.3. Adjustment of the enterprise sector to new economic conditions. Has the economic policy and privatisation policy of the government contributed to sound enterprise-restructuring, increase in their competitiveness, increase in investment activity and creation of good business environment? What have been the effects of privatisation and enterprise restructuring on employment?

1.4. Assessment of the government’s policy towards domestic and foreign direct investment and the effect of domestic and foreign direct investment (both immediate and secondary effects) on employment.

1.5. Development of the small enterprise sector and assessment of the government’s policy on small enterprise promotion. Assessment of the quantity and quality of jobs created in this sector.


II. DIAGNOSIS OF THE LABOUR MARKET SITUATION

2.1. Main labour market indicators (if available and reliable) on labour market trends and conditions: demographic development, labour migration trends, labour market participation rate, employment to population ratio, status in employment, employment by economic sector, employment by level of education, unemployment registered and measured by labour force survey, unemployment by age and gender, long-term unemployment, regional variations in unemployment, unemployment by level of education, minimum and average wages, etc. Estimation of the size of employment in the informal sector – as primary and secondary activities.

2.2. Identification of major current problems and challenges in the labour market and their causes. Is the level and quality of education and skills adequate to the labour market needs or are there major skill mismatches at the national and/or regional level or by occupation?


III. ANALYSIS OF EMPLOYMENT AND LABOUR MARKET POLICIES

3.1. Detailed description of current labour market policy and social policy related to employment (i.e. employment protection legislation, labour taxation, unemployment benefit schemes, early retirement, active labour market policies/programmes, social assistance to unemployed persons ineligible for unemployment benefits).

3.2. Does current labour legislation create any (major) obstacles for enterprises to adjust smoothly their personnel or labour input to changing economic conditions and if yes, what are these obstacles? Could you describe major changes in labour legislation and labour market policies after 1989 until now and their impacts on employment? Are any major changes in labour legislation and labour market policies envisaged in the near future?

3.3. Description and analysis of a national employment strategy/policy and of its implementation. What are the impacts of this strategy/policy on the national and regional labour markets? Does this strategy/policy promote gender equality in the field of employment? Does it also include measures to combat discrimination on other grounds than gender? Are there any other national strategies with direct impact on employment?

3.4. Analysis and assessment of special labour market programmes (if such programmes exist) targeted at youth, women, long-term unemployed, older workers, disabled workers and ethnic minorities.

3.5. Access of unemployed jobseekers and other workers’ groups to active labour market programmes, including labour market training (eligibility criteria; annual numbers of participants in individual programmes from their introduction until now and their share in registered unemployment and total labour force; how many of them have found employment after their completion; expenditure on active labour market programmes in national currency and as % of GDP). Has any evaluation been made of labour market impact of active labour market programmes and if yes with what results?

3.6. Access of unemployed jobseekers to unemployment benefits, social assistance and early retirement (eligibility criteria, annual numbers of benefit recipients and their share in registered unemployment and total labour force; annual numbers of early retirees; average level of unemployment benefits in national currency and as % of average wage; expenditure on unemployment benefits, social assistance to unemployed persons and early retirement in national currency and as % of GDP). Do the unemployment benefit system and the social welfare system create disincentives for unemployed persons to take up new employment?

3.7. Involvement of the social partners in the area of employment policy, labour market programmes, labour relations and wage formation. What is their assessment of their role played in the formulation and implementation of employment policy?

3.8. What are the achievement and challenges of these policies and programmes in the labour market? Some reasons can be suggested.

3.9. Are any social pacts and/or any forms of partnership on employment concluded at the national, regional or local level in your country? If yes, how they are implemented and with what result?


IV. OPERATION OF THE EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

4.1. Description of the organisation, mandate, territorial distribution of responsibilities, level of resources and staffing of the Employment Service; in particular, outline description of the main responsibilities of employment services (information on job opportunities, involvement in vocational training, working relation with employers, etc…).

4.2. Are there alternative/private employment agencies in your country? If so, how do they operate? And how does the National Employment Service relate with them?

4.3. What are the main problems facing employment services (legal, financial, related to staff capacity, etc…)?

4.4. Indicate if some regions are at a particular disadvantage in terms of the labour market and if specific measures are taken to improve/adapt the work of local employment services accordingly.

4.5. Evaluation of the performance of employment services: please describe existing monitoring and evaluation procedures and, if they exist, provide statistics /indicators of performance; are there mechanisms of involvement of users in the evaluation of the performance of employment services?

4.6. Explain recent measures, if any, taken to build the capacity and improve the performance of employment services.

4.7. Do the employment services have the capacity to deal with mass redundancies?

4.8. Does the employment service have cooperation programme(s) with employment services of other countries (for instance, in the framework of twinning programmes?)

4.9.What are the partner organisations/institutions involved in cooperation with the employment services (other than employees and employers trade unions/organisations)? Are the employment services cooperating with: regional and local authorities, NGO’s (particularly those working with vulnerable groups), education and training services, advisory services for, for instance, young people and adults or for minority groups, etc…?

4.10 Describe the cooperation of social partners with employment services in the work of employment services:
 

  • are the social partners members of the management boards or advisory bodies of employment services at national, regional and local level?

  • are social partners involved in finding solutions for workers in case of closing down/restructuring of enterprises?


V. EMPLOYMENT SERVICES AND VULNERABLE GROUPS IN THE LABOUR MARKET

5.1. What are, in your country, the groups considered to be the most vulnerable regarding access to employment (i.e. refugees and asylum seekers, Roma and other minority groups, disabled workers)? Describe specific policies and measures taken to improve the operation of employment services with respect to these groups (specific training of staff, posts of advisors for persons from minority and/or other vulnerable groups, practical measures to improve access to employment services for some groups, etc…). Describe measures taken by employment services to prevent these vulnerable groups from being excluded from the labour market. Are these policies and measures part of wider policies/programmes aiming at improving the situation of particular vulnerable/minority groups or of policies to fight against exclusion/poverty?

5.2. Describe legal and administrative measures as well as practical modalities taken to enforce principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunities (gender, migrant workers, ethnic minorities and disability related) in the work of the employment services; what are the main difficulties faced in implementing non-discrimination in daily work of the employment services?


VI. LABOUR MOBILITY IN SEE AND THE ROLE OF EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

6.1. Provide information on existing/potential mobility of labour, both internally and externally; if available, please specify the type of jobs and average duration of contracts abroad.

6.2 Describe legal/practical measures to foster labour mobility, both internally and externally, and in particular at regional (SEE) level. What are work permit regulations for foreign workers? Could you assess their impact in reality? What are the main barriers to mobility (e.g. lack of availability of housing, etc…)?

6.3 Are there any local/regional mobility agreements, for instance trans-border agreements?

6.4. Is there a system of information on job opportunities throughout the country/abroad? Is the information system on offers/demands throughout the country computerised? Are there alternative countrywide sources of information (private employment agencies, interest services, etc…)?

6.5 Are employment services involved in preparing/implementing bilateral agreements on labour mobility? If so, with which country(ies)?

6.6 Did your country sign the international and European instruments of coordination of social security? Is it envisaged to sign bilateral agreements with other countries involved in the cooperation process?

6.7 Are there possibilities for the staff of employment services to gain work experience/to be seconded with foreign key partners?


VII. SUMMARY OF MAIN FINDINGS AND POLICY CONCLUSIONS AND ASSISTANCE NEEDED

7.1. Summary of main recent labour market developments, challenges and impacts of national policy responses.

7.2. How in your view should the employment strategy/policy and delivery of services by employment agencies be improved and/or changed in order to meet these challenges?

7.3. Assistance needed from international organisations.