Romanian Presidency of the Council: Which priorities for a Social Europe?

Romania officially took over the EU Council Presidency on January 1 2019. The rotating presidency of the Council at intervals of six months has been an institutional practice since 1958. The responsible member state has to steer the European leadership through important milestones and troubled waters, currently including issues such as Brexit, the negotiation on the EU’s 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), the European elections in May and last but not least the adoption of the European Council’s Strategic Agenda 2019-2024 at its upcoming meeting in June 2019. The Romanian Presidency aims on four key priorities: a Europe of convergence, a safer Europe, a Europe as a stronger global actor, and a Europe of common values. CESI calls for an adequate consideration of employment and social affairs.

How will the Romanian presidency try to advance the social dossiers in the next months? In the current economic and social climate it is important to highlight how the Single Market, digitalisation, and taxation can positively impact on workers’ rights. Entrepreneurship and job creation are fundamental for Europe’s economy, but decent employment and fundamental social rights must be emphasised.

Under Pillar Four of its priorities, the Romanian Presidency aims at “promoting and supporting the legislative initiatives focusing on social progress and reducing development gaps, equal opportunities between men and women, and ensure access to education and training for the disadvantaged.”

According the Presidency’s work programme, priority files to be handled will include a currently negotiated revised EU regulation for a better coordination of social security systems, a proposal of the European Commission on a new European Labour Authority to help fight abusive employment in Europe. First negotiations with the European Parliament – so-called trilogues – have started January 15 and it is up for the Romanian Presidency to work towards an agreement on these key issues between the Council and the European Parliament.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger underlined that the Romanian Council Presidency should take this opportunity to also bring forward Europe’s social agenda: “The Romanian Presidency should not only focus on the creation of employment, but also push for a ‘decent work’ agenda. This includes, among others, the fight against precarious work, good working conditions, better work-like balance and genuine access to social rights for all.”

The full priorities and the entire work programme are available on the Romanian Council Presidency’s website here and here. Also follow on Twitter the work of the #RO2019EU Presidency for a more #SocialEurope.

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