Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

We are well aware that the economic and employment consequences of the pandemic have exerted and will continue to exert considerable pressure on the labour market.

Regarding Cyprus, the Government contained the unemployment rate significantly lower than what was forecasted, to below 8% of the labour force in 2020, through the timely and decisive implementation of a series of Short Time Work schemes supporting employment and mitigating consequently the negative impact on the growth level of the economy.

Given the persistent challenges, it is now time to focus on policies that will create a sustainable and inclusive labour market, to generate an upward drive to employment rates and eventually meet the 2030 EU headline target on employment.

We, therefore, absolutely support the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights and now is the time to focus on policies that will create a sustainable and inclusive labour market, including:

Development of a comprehensive Strategy for the design and implementation of active employment policy measures, based on the results of reliable forecasts of the short and long-term needs of the labour market,

Strengthening of the Public Employment Services to more flexibly respond to a changing world of work and the restructuring that is emerging due to the pandemic,

Support actions for unemployed young people through the development of synergies between the Public Employment Services, local agencies, and social partners,

Development of appropriate infrastructure for conducting studies and research on the needs of the labour market on a systematic basis, and

The need to step up efforts to fight discrimination and promote gender equality and fairness.

On the latter issue, as you are aware, my country has issued a non-paper aimed precisely to highlight this dimension and the need for specific provisions integrating a gender equality perspective both in short-term emergency and long-term reformative measures.

Implementing the aforementioned measures and policies will, of course, require strong, transparent, and sustained leadership.