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Tackling long-term unemployment through support services: EASPD’s recommendations

The European Commission (EC) has recently launched a public consultation asking for recommendations to tackle long-term unemployment in Europe. In view of contributing as early as possible into the EC's work, the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) has developed a position paper presenting the key factors needed for support services to effectively contribute to tackling long-term unemployment in Europe; not only of persons with disabilities, but all disadvantaged groups. EASPD calls on the EC to implement measures which provide a win-win situation for both the employee and employer and recommends the “STAR” holistic approach.
EASPD’s position paper welcomes the EC’s will to remedy the long-term unemployment situation for thousands of European citizens. EASPD strongly recommends giving priority to disadvanted groups such as persons with disabilities and especially those persons with high support service’s needs. However, supporting services should not only be focused on the unemployed, but also for employers at all stages. According to EASPD it is therefore essential to ensure that support services are available not only in the early stages of unemployment when seeking for a job, but also during employment, by supporting the employee and cooperating with employers to also increase job retention.
Another convergent view with the EC is the recognition of mutual partnerships between all stakeholders (individuals, employers, municipalities, social services, trade unions and public employment services) as an essential element to the process of tackling long-term unemployment. Nevertheless, EASPD cautions the EC of the risk to apply a misleading approach. Indeed, primary focus of action should not only be on the employability of the individual but also, the inclusiveness of the labour market.
EASPD deems necessary for the European Commission and policy-makers to apply a holistic approach including the so called “STAR” recommendations, which are based on success factors found in 25 projects focusing on employment of persons with disabilities:

  • Stakeholder cooperation. Ensure the participation and commitment of all relevant stakeholders as well as localized social service provision.
  • Targeted actions. Promote an individualized approach, decent working conditions and career paths.
  • Availability of support. Develop coherent legislation and funding systems and promote the development of supported employment agencies throughout Europe.
  • Research. Support research to better understand the reasons of unemployment, develop detailed unemployment statistics and analysis for disadvantaged groups.
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Note to editors

The European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities is a non-profit European umbrella organization, established in 1996, and currently representing over 10.000 social and health services for persons with disabilities. EASPD advocates effective and high-quality disability-related services in the field of education, employment and individualised support, in line with the UN CRPD principles, which could bring benefits not only to persons with disabilities, but to society as a whole.


Nieves Tejada Castro, EASPD Communications Officer
Thomas Bignal, EASPD Policy Officer