This information is derived from the State Department's Office of Investment Affairs' 2015 Investment Climate Statement. Any questions on the ICS can be directed to EB-ICS-DL@state.gov
Last Published: 6/3/2016

Issues such as employment, worker training and social benefits remain primarily the responsibility of EU member states.  However, the member states are coordinating ever more closely their efforts to increase employment through macroeconomic policy cooperation, guidelines for action, the exchange of best practices, and programmatic support from various EU programs.  The best information regarding conditions in individual countries is available through the labor and social ministries of the member states. 

Helpful information from the EU can be found on the websites for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs, http://ec.europa.eu/social/home.jsp?langId=en and on the Eurostat website
http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/portal/page/portal/eurostat/home/.

In general, the labor force in EU countries is highly skilled and offers virtually any specialty required.  Member states regulate labor-management relations, and employees generally enjoy strong protection.  EU member states have among the highest rates of ratification and implementation of ILO conventions in the world.  Numerous provisions in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), EU labor law and policy guidelines aim to strengthen social dialogue and the role of the “social partners” (labor and management organizations) at EU, national, sectoral, local and company level.   

There is a strong tradition of labor unions in most member states.  In many cases, the tradition is stronger than the modern reality.  While Nordic member states (Denmark, Finland, and Sweden) still have high levels of labor union membership, many other large member states, notably Germany and the United Kingdom, have seen their levels of organization drop significantly to levels around 20-30 percent.  French labor union membership, at less than 10 percent of the workforce, is lower than that of the United States.

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European Union 28 Economic Development and Investment Law