The new Lisbon strategy operating from 2005 onwards is based on a new cycle of governance with an integrated package of guidelines remaining valid until 2008.

Based on the integrated guidelines, which encompass economic, social and environmental dimensions, Member States have drawn up their national reform programmes, which set out their three year strategy to deliver growth and jobs.

The assessment of the national reform programmes by the Commission is set out in the Annual Progress Report and in the accompanying draft Joint Employment Report. The assessment confirms that employment is increasing and unemployment is falling. However, productivity growth and quality of jobs remain below Europe's needs. The responsiveness of European labour markets to the challenges of globalisation and ageing remain critical issues.

Proposal for a Council Decision on guidelines for the Employment Policies of the Member States

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