Long-term unemployment can have serious consequences, both for the unemployed and for growth and public finances. Even so, according to a report published by the European Court of Auditors, the measures taken to combat it are not sufficiently targeted. Since 2014, the EU has funded through the European Social Fund (ESF) various measures to promote access to employment. However, ESF measures have not always been tailored to the specific needs of the long-term unemployed. The auditors recommend that the European Commission insist that Member States implement an individualized approach to assist the long-term unemployed through the new ESF+, which will cover the period 2021-2027. In addition, they recommend that the Commission assess the effectiveness of “access to employment” measures targeted at such long-term unemployed.
“Long-term unemployment affects our social fabric. The unemployed population is at greater risk of poverty, social exclusion and even health problems,” says Lazaros S. Lazarou, Member of the Court responsible for the report. “We have found that, to date, many long-term jobseekers have benefited from EU-funded measures, although these were not specifically designed for them. The COVID-19 pandemic may exacerbate the problem of long-term unemployment. In our view, an individualized approach for all long-term unemployed should be implemented in the framework of active labor market policies at the national level.