The 9th European Regional Meeting of the International Labour Organization (ILO) opened in Oslo today with an urgent call for effective employment and social policies that can achieve growth and competitiveness with good jobs.
“The crisis in Europe is dramatic. A financial crisis has turned into a jobs crisis. In some countries there is now a lost generation of young people; out of a job, out of training and out of the market. More people are becoming permanently inactive and unemployable,” Norway’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.
“Therefore, we need to implement measures now to avoid a major social crisis and political backlash. This is the main political challenge we face in Europe today,” Stoltenberg said.
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder added that “we face a continuing economic and employment crisis with no obvious solution in sight,” urging the Conference to propose “effective actions to achieve recovery”.
According to the latest ILO data, the crisis has left over 26.3 million Europeans unemployed– 10.2 million more than when the global financial crisis erupted in 2008.
The data also show that the employment situation has continued to deteriorate since the introduction of fiscal consolidation policies. Following a brief respite in 2010-2011, unemployment has resumed growing and shows no sign of improvement. Over the past 6 months alone, one million people have lost their jobs in the European Union. The ILO Director-General also thanked the Government of Norway for its hospitality in hosting the European Regional Meeting.
The ILO European and Central Asian region member States meet every four years to forge policies and set priorities for the area.
The meeting also heard statements by H.E. Ms. Dahlia Grybauskaité, President of the Republic of Lithuania, Mr. Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the OECD, Ms. Bernadette Segol, ETUC General Secretary speaking for the Workers’ Group and Mr. Javier Ferrer Duffol, Vice-President of the CEOE of Spain speaking for the Employers’ Group.
Ms. Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister of Labour of Norway was elected chair of the three-and-a-half day meeting.