[Excerpt] The Commission actively supports Member States in the analysis, design and implementation of their employment policies. The Employment in Europe report is one of the main instruments of this support.
The 19th edition of the Employment in Europe report comes at a time when the EU is experiencing strong employment expansion: in 2006, employment increased in all EU Member States and overall job growth has been the strongest since the launch of the Lisbon strategy in 2000. Moreover, strong job creation appears to be continuing in 2007. This is very positive news which shows that policy efforts in the area of employment are beginning to bear fruit in many Member States. At the same time, we must not forget that the ambitious Lisbon and Stockholm employment targets remain a considerable challenge and leave no room for complacency.
As in previous years, this issue of Employment in Europe addresses topics that are high on the European Union's employment policy agenda, complementing and expanding on the themes covered in previous reports. In particular, as in 2006, the report aims to inform the broad policy debate on flexicurity, which resulted earlier this year in a Commission Communication on Flexicurity with a view to reaching an agreement on a set of common principles at European level by the end of 2007. The report also takes account the European Year of Equal Opportunities 2007 by addressing the issue of work-life balance. It also complements the recent Commission Communication on Youth with a special focus on youth employment.
The overarching theme of this report is flexicurity and the closely related issue of life-cycle approach to work. While last years' report focused on the external aspects of flexicurity, this year's chapter on working time and work organisation seeks to enrich the flexicurity debate by looking at internal flexibility, i.e. within firms. Both the chapter on older workers and the panorama focus on young people expand on the review of the labour market trends for these two groups featured in the Employment in Europe 2005 and aim to contribute to the promotion of a life-cycle approach to work. As in previous years, the Employment in Europe 2007 pays particular attention to human capital development and looks at the issue of vocational training and, in particular, at the role of public policies in this domain. Finally, the report examines the evolution of the labour income share in the EU and addresses important issues, such as equity, efficiency and stability in the age of globalisation and rapid technological progress.