JOB FAIRS: deceptive and false hopes or a real chance to find a job?

Maria Owczarz

 Is there anything else than a bundle of leaflets and pockets full of free sweets that a person takes away from job fairs? How many of you have ever been to such an event and what are your impressions?

On 13th of March, 2013, in the Fair Centre of Lublin took place the eighth edition of the International Job Fairs organized by the Voivodeship Labour Office of Lublin with a co-operation of EURES – European Employment Services. For 7 hours a great hall became a place where approximately 60 exhibitors, both local, national and foreign presented their companies, for example, Adecco Poland S.A., Jeronimo Martins Polska S.A., Instal – Lublin Sp. Z o. O.,, POL-Inowex S.A. Among this number there were 11 from foreign countries, most of which were representatives of previously mentioned EURES, but also companies such us: Clockwork Bemanning AS from Bergen or HSI Personaldienste from Germany.

Few words about EURES itself – it is a network of cooperation within public employment services designed to facilitate the free movement of workers within the European Economic Area (just to remind – EEA are 27 European Union member states as well as Norway, Iceland and Switzerland), everything is coordinated by the European Commission. What is the purpose of this network? Basically it is to promote geographical and professional workers’ mobility. It aims at providing information, advice and any kind of help to job seekers interested in undertaking employment abroad as well as to employers who want to hire workers from other EU member states. Additionally, all services that the EURES advisers offer to their clients are free of charge and include access to information to job seekers and employers, guidance for individuals interested in professional mobility, distribution and exchange of vacancies, regional labour market analyses as well as information on living and working conditions in particular EU member states among all EURES advisers. EURES consists of more that 850 EURES advisers that are in daily contact with job seeker and employers across Europe.

During these Job Fairs I had a chance to help as a volunteer at one of the international stands of EURES, namely Norwegian one. There is no doubt that Norway is concerned one of the most prosperous countries in Europe, no wonders then that this booth was surrounded by people all the time. EURES itself does not hire people, it is not a company that provides a job but a kind of agent that helps in the process of seeking for a job.

What are my impressions after that time? Well, apart from learning plenty of new things and realities of labour market, sometimes I felt really bad when I had to tell every person approaching to our stand that without solid English skills (Norwegian is an additional advantage), proper documents proving their abilities and at least few years of experience in a particular profession – they do not come to Norwegian employers’ expectations. In a situation when almost every person interested in a job in Norway did not feel well with his or her English and could hardly perform spontaneously a simple interview talk with one of representatives of Norwegian stand or did not have a diploma in engineering, ship design or any other similar profession – that could be really discouraging for them. Still, I absolutely do not want to generalize, it is not true that nobody could speak English but a great majority of them did not feel confident which, unfortunately, is the condition.

How to assess such Job Fairs then? For some people this kind of event is nothing else but a waste of time. Why? They complain that most of this companies have too high requirements for a simple worker with profession such as a roofer or a locksmith. Besides, every single company requires at least few years of experience which in Polish working conditions is not always so easy to achieve. Therefore, a probable company is not able to hire such a person nor is eager to provide them a way to gain such an experience. The question is: where then one should find and gather experience?  Where is the core of the problem then? Are people seeking for a job too critical or simply uneducated or rather companies should be blamed for too demanding expectations and requirements? Those and many other questions are to be answered.

While for some people job fairs might be overwhelming with many people waiting to see the same employers, crowds and noise, still it can be treated as a valuable tool and a good way to meet company representatives face-to-face. It is said that this year during the eights edition of the International Job Fairs approximately 7800 people came to see what different companies have to offer. I just wonder how many of them left that place with their minds full of hope of gaining new job, especially in the most desired countries such as Norway, Sweden or the UK.

I encourage you to visit the website of EURES, anyway.                 work

Maybe you will find something interesting there?

Good luck!


Why Poles do not want to be in euro zone?

Joanna Górska

Euro zone – what is this? It is an area of common currency – euro which exist in 17 countries of the European Union.

Under the terms of the Treaty of Accession 2003, all new Member States „shall participate in the Economic and Monetary Union from the date of Accession as a Member State with a derogation”, which means that Poland is obliged to introduce the euro, which will replace its current currency – Złoty.

Now there is a question, are Poles for or against euro currency? To make an opinion we have to base on researches carried out by research center CBOS (Centrum Badania Opinii Społecznej). In 2009 some datas showed that the amount of followers were balanced between 47% – 54%. Before accession Poland to European Union there was more supporters of european integration than supporters of common currency. The last researchers from 2011 shows how public opinion was changing between 2002 and 2011. Amount of opponents increased by 24 % and amount of supporters decreased by 22%.

Why these datas changed drastically? In 2002 was the beginning of Euro zone. This currency was for all citizens of EU something new, for Poles too. In 2002 euro was stable currency. Now the policy of euro currency is not right lead. That’s why is crisis now.

The most popular opinion of being against Euro currency – increasing the price of goods. A lot of them think that the finantial situation of menage will get worse and worse. Of course the prices may be higher, but not the same like in West. Some goods in West have become cheaper, because of lower prices at the East. After accession Euro currency, citizens of Euroland said that there is not big difference in home budged like before eliminating national currency.

The euro area should have prevented to political conflicts and should have become a basis for further integration in Europe, but the current financial crisis revealed the shortcomings of this monetary union. Crisis from 2008 is a reason of a beginning of trust national currency. Crisis in Spain and Greece could scare Polish citizens. Euro currency may be a reason of destroying our policy and national economy. Now Polish „Złoty” is a stable currency. During the reading some opinions in phorum I can say that some citizens says that euro is e.g. pointless, unnecessary, brings more harm than good.

To summarize we can say that Poles feel a fear of crisis which can exist in Poland after accession of Poland to Euro zone.

11 March 2013: The Day of Smiling Rabbits

 Sylwia Bulak

Why? Simply  on this day a ban on animal testing in the European Union will be finally complete.

In a legal manner animal testing  was put to an end some years ago under the amended Cosmetics Directive* by imposing bans on:

  • testing cosmetic products or their ingredients on animals (TESTING BAN);
  • selling cosmetic products which have been tested on animals or which contain ingredients that have been tested on animals (MARKETING BAN).

The provisions  have not immediately entered into force – the Commission decided to give the countries a 6-year -long period of implementation.  In March 2009, all animal testing for cosmetics was banned in the EU and an EU–wide ban on the sale of cosmetics products containing ingredients tested on animals went into effect. The ban however allows some kinds of tests to continue until 2013 (precisely speaking:  the tests concerning repeated-dose toxicity, reproductive toxicity andtoxicokinetics, for which there were no alternatives under consideration).

króliki gotowe

Currently the total prohibition will be applicable regardless of the availability of alternative test methods.

Why does the Directive differentiate between testing and marketing ban? The sales ban is crucial because it means that even products which were tested on animals ELSEWHERE cannot be sold in the EU! The importance of the provisions is underlined by PETA** which describes them as:

 the most enlightened and ambitious pieces of legislation on animal testing anywhere in the world [which] has helped drive innovation and the development of new, highly effective non-animal testing methods that are now being used to replace animals in experiments all around the world.

Undeniably in this respect it is proud to be a European…

If you would like to get more involved in the issue, you can check which companies test their products on animals and which are cruelty-free:

Or read about alternative methods of testing cosmetics:

Report on the Development, Validation and Legal Acceptance of Alternative Methods to Animal Tests in the Field of Cosmetics (2009)

* In the framework of the 7th Amendment to the Cosmetics Directive (Council Directive 76/768/EEC) held in 2003 (The European Parliament and Council Directive 2003/15/EC)

** People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals


Picture made by the author

Challenges of further enlargement in front of the European Union

Katarzyna Sosnowska

It seems that the European Union is interested primarily in economic relations with the countries of the ENP, the enlargement policy is not a priority for Member States.  However, if the extension would have taken place, the focus should be on the development of future candidates, so that they could become an equal partners to the current Member States. Statistics show that they are in a much weaker economic condition in comparison to the state which acceded to the EU in 2004, at the time when they were candidates.

In my personal opinion, an important challenge is also to show to Member States that the enlargement brings the benefits for them. In the extension process future members will go through transformation and will no longer be a source of threats. Accession of the Western Balkan region can help to stabilize the area at the EU’s borders, going further, this may result in an overall improvement of safety. Another challenges can appear, i.e. problem of effective foreign policy in times of crisis. If the EU wants to achieve uniformity, must solve internal problems, such as the threat of breakdown by Member State of first and second category. It may look like the EU is trying to earn something for itself without giving a clear offer back, knowing that EU is still the only perspective for the Western Balkans. The transparent position, explicit by Member States, putting a clear, detailed and specific tasks is needed. That can help to reduce uncertainty in the relations with ENP countries.

Taking into account reports on the implementation of the ENP the first signs are encouraging, however, to consolidate this process it is necessary to make a sustained effort. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, Social Committee and Committee of Regions from May 2012 points a number of issues in which partner countries should increase their efforts to reform. There are also areas in which the EU should better implement its offer of assistance. One of them is the matter of building sustainable democracy in the ENP countries. It includes second challenge which id the fight against unemployment, social exclusion, inequality and poverty. These problems are among the main reasons for instability and unrest. For the process of democratization to be sustained, the problems must be solved. What shows parliamentary election in Georgia, much depends on the political situation in the country.

Facilitating mobility is perceived as another challenge for the EU. Creating partnerships for mobility and visa facilitations look like a proper way to reach that goal. As the Communication from the Commission states It will help to promote “objectives in the area of education, to promote business contacts, cultural exchange and people-to-people contact”.

There is no doubt that the most important things are to support the democratic transition and economic development which are a basic ground for another actions and stability. But on the other hand Member States have to face a huge difference in basic principles, existing on a cultural level.  It can be considered that facing all of these challenges can benefit not only for the ENP countries but also for the European Union itself. If Eastern Policy make a hit it will strengthen the role of the EU as a global player on the international stage.