UK AND PORTUGAL SUGGEST JOB CREATION TASKFORCE.

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Unemployment in the EU could best be tackled by the creation of a European Employment Taskforce, said Tony Blair, the Prime Minister of the UK, and Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, the Prime Minister of Portugal in a joint statement issued on February 26. The call came in the run up to the Spring Council in March, when Heads of State and Government will gather together to review the EU's progress on achieving the Lisbon targets. The statement notes that the Lisbon targets will require the creation of 15 million new jobs but that so far, only 2 million new jobs have been created. Unemployment figures are rising and 3.3% of the EU's workforce is long-term unemployed.

The right balance between flexibility and security, says the statement, would be protected by "putting in place a comprehensive European framework of essential minimum standards of employment regulation and social protection to safeguard the core rights of employees in the modern workplace. Further action at the European level should concentrate on voluntary agreements and exchanges of good...

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