On January 31, 2024, the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union organised the Val Duchesse Partners Summit. At the Summit, the European Commission, the Belgian presidency of the Council of the EU and European social partners signed a ‘Tripartite Declaration for a Thriving European Social Dialogue’.
One of the key outcomes of the summit was strengthened social dialogue on addressing labour and skills shortages. The European Commission, in cooperation with social partners, declared that they will prepare an action plan to tackle labour and skills shortages in Spring 2024. With regard to the Belgian Presidency’s focus on tackling skills shortages, Belgian Prime Minister, Alexander De Croo, said: “Ensuring our competitiveness is a key priority for the Belgian Presidency. It is the basis for our future welfare, social cohesion, and the green transition. Tackling shortages in labour and skills is essential to this end”
Tackling skills shortages in Europe requires a transversal, multisectoral approach, ensuring cooperation between researchers, local and regional authorities, education providers and SMEs. EARLALL supports the multi-actor approach to tackling skills shortages. In the recently launched Horizon Europe project TRAILS – Enabling data analytics for actions tackling skills shortages & mismatch – partners build on current data in skills mismatches and create novel tools and databases, harnessing the power of Artificial Intelligence. It will empower Vocational Education and Adult Education training to match employers with educational opportunities to reallocate workers efficiently.
Moreover, LCAMP – Learner Centric Advanced Manufacturing Platform is a four-year CoVEs that aims to generate skills knowledge and training profiles for VET/HVET centres and companies within the Advanced Manufacturing sector, in cooperation with local and regional authorities. SKYLA – Smart Specialisation Skills Ecosystems for the Twin Transition – seeks to support public authorities in putting future skills at the centre of the twin transitions for a smarter, more resilient development, by boosting and adapting the role of VET in innovation ecosystems and smart specialisation strategies.
The Val Duchesse Summit strengthened the EU Institutions’ commitment to tackling skills shortages in the labour market, including by bringing more people to the labour market, integrating workers from abroad and facilitating the recognition of qualifications. EARLALL’s regions have long recognised the benefits of such an approach of integrating third nationals into local labour markets. Through the project TALENTS – Regional and local measures to develop the potential of refugees (2016-2019) and FIER – Fast Track Integration in European Regions (2018-2019), EARLALL regions have cooperated on these issues.
With the backdrop of the Val Duchesse Summit’s commitments, EARLALL is pleased to continue its work on this topic in the upcoming Interreg Europe project SALAM: Sustainable AccessibIlity to the LAbour Market. In the four-year project, set to kick off in Spring 2024, five EARLALL members (Catalonia, Centre-Val de Loire, Västra Götaland, Tuscany, Baden- Württemberg) will address their policiesin the field of fast-track labour market integration.
EARLALL will continue to follow the outcomes of the Val Duchesse Summit and affirms its regions commitment to its goals.