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The European Commission is to set up a European Vacancy Monitor which will give up-to-the minute information on job vacancies across the whole of the European Union, the Director of the European Commission Representation Office in Dublin said today (September 15).

In a farewell address to the Association of European Journalists, Mr Martin Territt said a key challenge facing Europe was how we tackle the jobs issue in the future.

“For example,” he said, “notwithstanding a 10% unemployment rate across the EU, there are at the same time some 4,000,000 job vacancies. So we must see how best we can match available skills with vacancies through a European solution, something we will come forward with later in the year, a European Vacancy Monitor. And we will pursue our interaction with the Member States on the need for continuous upskilling of the workforce and investment in life-long learning.”

Mr Territt also suggested an amendment to the Irish Constitution to copper-fasten the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact (SGP).

The Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) is an agreement among the members of the European Union that take part in the Eurozone, to facilitate and maintain the stability of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU).

Based primarily on Articles 99 and 104 of the Treaty Establishing the European Community, it consists of fiscal monitoring of members by the European Commission and the Council of Ministers. It also provides for sanctions against offending members after multiple warnings.

Mr Territt said there must be must have greater macroeconomic surveillance and this must be coupled with greater enforcement.

“I would, on a personal note, like to see this debate deepened and enriched within this Member State,” he said. “I would clearly like to see consideration given, for example, to what role the Oireachtas might afforded in the future in monitoring Ireland’s performance viz a viz a reformed SGP. Should consideration be given, for example, to copper-fastening the SGP’s deficit and borrowing provisions in this State’s primary law, Bunreacht na hEireann? Something along these lines has been done in Germany, so perhaps there are lessons to be drawn.”

If these types of questions, and others, could be teased out in public debate, then there could be a more substantive European dialogue that hopefully would avoid the sterility of debate around this or that percentage of fiscal tightening in a given budgetary year, he said.

Mr Territt, a former member of Commissioner David Byrne’s Cabinet, said Ireland and Europe must continue on the path of more stringent financial supervision and regulation. The combined effects of sound public finances and responsible, regulated financial markets should engender the necessary confidence and economic solidity for sustainable growth and not just growth for growth’s sake but growth for jobs, sustainable growth and inclusive growth.

The chairperson of the AEJ, RTE newscaster Eileen Dunne paid tribute to Mr Territt for his years of commitment and dedication to the European cause and in particular for his role in explaining, in clear and simple detail, the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty.