Created in 1975, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) was set up to contribute to the planning and establishment of better living and working conditions through action designed to increase and disseminate knowledge likely to assist this development.
This year marks forty years for Eurofound. Four decades of active contribution to improving the quality of life and working conditions of Europeans.
It is testament to the vision of the European forefathers that in those early years they already saw the need to establish a European Agency with the unique mandate of providing knowledge on social and work-related issues. The goal then was to help policymakers shape a better future for its citizens. Forty years on and now charting 28 countries and 520 million people, that goal remains as critical today as ever before.
As we embrace the challenges of the next decade and beyond, Eurofound will take this anniversary year as an opportunity to further deepen its links with our core stakeholders, the social partners, governments and Institutions, and build on our vast network at EU and national level to continue to provide high-quality, policy-relevant information which can be used by policymakers to mould the fair and competitive Europe to which we all aspire.
With millions unemployed, the poor state of the labour market is having a very serious impact on living and working conditions in Europe. Policies to address the jobs crisis by creating new jobs and safeguarding existing ones are a very high priority for the EU and for national governments. Employment – Jobs in Europe addresses employment policy – the changing nature of work in Europe, job creation, restructuring in organisations and labour market trends.
Young people have been hit particularly hard by the crisis. Across Europe millions of them are effectively disengaged – not in employment, education or training. As well as the severe impact on these young people and their families, there is an enormous social and economic cost to this disengagement. Youth in Europe covers economic and social issues affecting young people – education and training, unemployment, social inclusion, labour market integration, health problems, quality of life, mobility and migration.
Many Europeans have experienced a worsening of their standard of living in recent years. How have housing, education, health and care services been affected in terms of access, affordability and quality? How can public services be reformed to deal with new needs and reduced budgets? Quality of life, citizens and public services deals with the challenge of improving life quality and services for Europe’s citizens – standards of living, public service quality and accessibility and social cohesion in the face of economic and social disparities.
Europe is ageing. Older people make up an increasing share of the EU population and by 2060 it is predicted that those aged over 65 will be 30% of the population, sharply up on current levels. This demographic ageing has significant implications for society and work, including the need to provide services for an ageing population and pressure for some people to work to an older age. Older people considers the range of issues relating to the ageing population and how they are being addressed.
To ensure that social support systems remain viable as Europe’s population ages, it is critical that more people work and that workers stay in work for longer over their lifetimes. These twin goals will be achieved only if workers are healthy, qualified and motivated to stay in work for longer and if the wider societal supports are in place to enable people to access work. Sustainable work covers the many areas of enquiry pertinent to ensuring that people are able and available to work; quality of work is a central theme, as are policies supporting work and employment.