The employment guidelines, ladies and gentlemen, stress two more things, commitment and credibility. The credibility of the new Treaty demands that we develop an appropriate and workable approach to improving employment performance, and that we are seen to do so.

We have set out some specific targets and quantifiable objectives in the guidelines. But what is equally important is that Member States agree three things which would demonstrate real commitment, but would avoid the risk of unrealistic expectations.

One is to agree the principle of clear mechanisms for assessing improvement in Member State performance, against agreed objectives.

The second is that they agree also a range of common methods in order to apply the principle in a comparative way.

The most practical ways in which Member States could approach the task of working with the Commission to define these would be by a mixture of:

  • percentage shifts in resource allocation;
  • percentage coverage/output of measures;
  • and tailored benchmarking against best Member States? performance.
The third component would be for the Member States to work with the Commission to encourage and assist improvements in performance on the priorities set out in the Guidelines.

If we can emerge from the Jobs Summit with these three things, then I believe we will have made great and significant progress in applying the potential of Europe to addressing employment as a matter of common concern.

Taken together, these lines of action add up to a strategy for modernisation. The policy challenge represented by this need to modernise Europe?s employment systems is immense, as all of you here today know very well.

It also has major implications for your work, for the conditions under which our economies, our companies and our workplaces operate.

The pace of change in technology, in working and trading patterns and in skill and competence demands, demand a new interplay between our employment systems, which public policy and collective arrangements must secure.

We can only change the employment situation by working together. I believe that the events of the last few months, built on a long period of hard work, offers us the tools to do that more effectively, and more coherently, than ever before.

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