The Council took an important step in the implementation of the new Europe 2020 strategy for jobs and growth, by adopting a decision establishing new guidelines for the employment policies of the member states.

The guidelines for the employment policies form one part of the integrated guidelines, the other part being the broad guidelines for the economic policies of the member states, which the Council already adopted in July 2010.

The integrated guidelines represent the main tool of the Europe 2020 Strategy, the new ten-year strategy for jobs and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. They lay the foundations for structural reforms which the member states will have to carry out.

The integrated guidelines contain five EU headline targets, of which three belong to the guidelines for the employment policies of the member states and concern labour market participation, the fight against social exclusion and poverty, and the quality and performance of education and training systems.