Employment is one of the most essential social rights. Millions of people
throughout Europe are unemployed or are at risk of becoming unemployed. The
Council of Europe, therefore, promotes access to employment, especially for
the most vulnerable members of society. A number of recommendations on how to
improve access to employment have been developed in the Council of Europe,
based on the best practices of many European countries.
A Committee of Experts on Promoting Access to Employment (CS-EM) prepared
guidelines on local partnerships for the development of employment. They have
particular relevance to the labour market situation in Central and Eastern
European Member States.
Another Group of Specialists (CS-MA) looked into ways to improve
access to employment for very marginalised and disadvantaged groups, such as
people released from prison, victims of trafficking of human beings, homeless
persons or drug users/former drug users. The group finalised a report and
guidelines for policy makers in the spring 2004.
In order to translate these guidelines into practice, the Council of Europe
carries out a number of assistance activities, mainly in South-East Europe
and in Russia, Ukraine and South Caucasus. This includes the creation of
local partnerships for employment or training the staff of the employment
services. A Management Training Kit for the staff of social, health and
employment services has also been published.
The Council of Europe is also involved in a
process of cooperation on employment in South East Europe, the so-called
"Bucharest Process", as the city where
this process was launched, during a Ministerial conference on employment, in
aims to tackle unemployment in South East Europe by means of cooperation and
exchange of experience among the beneficiary countries of the Stability Pact.
As revised by the "Sofia conclusions" in 2005, the "Bucharest process" aims :
further improve the national employment policies, in order to pursue
economic growth, social cohesion and regional stability with high
and productive employment;
promote adaptability in the labour market with special attention to facilitating access to employment by vulnerable groups;
promote gender equality in national employment strategies;
to further improve in the effectiveness and coverage of public