EPSCO Council discusses social dialogue and employment policy challenges

5 Oct 2015

Today, the national employment and social affairs ministers of the EU member states convened for a Council of Ministers' meeting and discussed a variety of topics related to the great employment and social policy-related challenges that the EU continues to face.

EPSCO Council discusses social dialogue and employment policy challenges

Items on the agenda included:

• the social governance of the EU: Ministers discussed possible changes to the way social challenges are taken into account in the European semester, EU’s annual policy coordination cycle. They also discussed the EU’s social protection priorities for 2016. In this context they endorsed key messages of a report drafted by the Social Protection Committee on recent social policy reforms, an advisory body, which indicates the direction of reforms to be carried out by member states;

• women on boards: The ministers looked at the state of play of negotiations over the draft directive that seeks to ensure that women occupy 40% of non-executive board seats on public companies by 2020 but were not yet able to reach an internal agreement on the draft directive;

• the integration of the long-term unemployed into the labour market: The ministers held a policy debate on the recommendation concerning the integration of the longterm unemployed into the labour market which the Commission presented to it;

• pensions: The ministers endorsed the key messages of the report ‘Adequate retirement incomes in the context of ageing societies’ and adopted conclusions on the topic.

•  the EU’s agenda for health and safety at work: The ministers adopted conclusions on the new agenda for health and safety at work to foster better working conditions;  and

• the state of play of social dialogue in Europe. The ministers took note of the state of play of social dialogue at European level, on the basis of information provided by the Commission. The Council was also informed about the tripartite social summit to be held in the margins of the European Council, on the morning of 15 October. The theme this year will be ‘Fostering convergence, creating jobs and growth: strengthening the role of the social partners’.

More information about the Council meeting is available here. The next meeting of employment and social affairs ministers at Council level will take place on December 8.