Eight and a half million lost jobs this year and next in the European Union — in response to this possibility tabled by the European Commission, the EU member states agreed to a mini-summit on employment.
Brussels had called for a major meeting with the heads of state and government, but several capitals, notably Paris, Berlin and London, declined. With scarcely more than 24 hours left to go as Prime Minister of the current EU presiding nation the Czech Republic, Mirek Topolanek chaired a scaled-down gathering in Prague. His cabinet lost a confidence vote in March, but he promoted a can-do approach. “I’m losing my post,” he said, “but I’m not going to be out of work, because if you look for work you’ll find it — and that’s a piece of advice for everyone.” EU and employer and labour union representatives at the mini-summit called jointly for companies to boost their hiring efforts. Lowering non-salary costs and cutting red tape was also suggested, with governments also asked to improve job-search and training programmes.