The European Year of Workers' Mobility kicked off in Brussels on 20 February at a conference called 'Workers' mobility: a right, an option, an opportunity?
The year aims to raise awareness and increase understanding of what benefits can be gained by working in a new country or changing jobs. It will also highlight how the EU can help mobilise workers.

"Free movement is a fundamental right in the EU. We should make as full use of it as we can. It can provide opportunities to learn, to work and to re-train," said Vladimr pidla, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities. "Workers need new skills and Europe needs adaptable workers. So Europe needs to get on the move" he said.

The European Year of Workers' Mobility kicked off with the launch of the new EURES job vacancies website, which will advertise around 1 million vacancies in the EU in 28 countries throughout Europe.

The European Year was allocated a budget of 10 million that will be dedicated to mobility awareness-raising projects and major events, such as a Vienna Mobility conference in June and 'Job Fair Europe' on 29 and 30 September - which will see job fairs in more than 50 European cities.

Projects will include 'mobility evenings' on a European TV channel and in Paris, in December 2006, a publicity campaign will be launched in the Metro magazine, which will subsequently be followed in all European metros. New films showing the value of mobility will be screened and a blog will be kept on the European Year of Workers' Mobility web site.

A European prize will be awarded to the organisation that has contributed the most to worker mobility.

Only around 2 percent of Europeans live in an EU country other than their country of origin, a percentage largely unchanged for the last 30 years. However, statistics show that 59 percent of people who looked for work outside their home region found work within a year, against only 35 percent of those who staid in their home region.

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