The Council of EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Ministers will meet on 7-8 June in Luxembourg. The European Commission will be represented by László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and Vice-President Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. The meeting will prepare the June European Council.
Main agenda items for Employment and Social Policy (7 June):
- Europe 2020: poverty target and the employment guidelines
- Extension of social security coordination to third country nationals
- Directive on self-employed workers and assisting spouses
- Directive against discrimination outside employment
- Council conclusions on New Skills for New Jobs, pensions and active ageing
- Resolution on a European disability framework
- Council conclusions on Roma inclusion
Europe 2020 Strategy (Cristina Arigho)
The Ministers will debate the Europe 2020 Strategy following the discussion at the Spring summit of heads of State and Government and in preparation of the summit with EU leaders on 17-18 June. The main discussion will focus on the EU target for poverty and social inclusion, where Ministers are expected to agree on a numerical rate and indicators for the poverty target, one of the five main targets under the Europe 2020 Strategy
Ministers will also discuss the Employment Guidelines. These guidelines are important in supporting the headline targets set out in Europe 2020. They will also help kick start the majority of the seven flagship initiatives planned for this autumn. During the meeting, Ministers will be asked to endorse the contributions from the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee on employment targets and targets for poverty reduction and social inclusion.
Extension of social security coordination to nationals of third countries (Cristina Arigho)
The Ministers are expected to reach a political agreement to complete the modernised EU social security system by extending it to third country nationals residing legally in a Member State when moving within the Union. This means that people living in another EU country can still benefit from social security coverage (Regulation 883/2004).
Directive on self-employed workers and assisting spouses (Matthew Newman)
Ministers will approve the self-employed workers and assisting spouses Directive. Under the proposal, independent female workers will have the same access to maternity leave as salaried workers. Moreover, spouses and life partners (recognised as such in national law) who work on an informal basis in small family businesses such as a farm or a local doctor's practice – so-called "assisting spouses" – will have access to the same social protection systems as independent workers ( IP/08/1450 ). Ministers adopted a common position at the EPSCO Council meeting last March which was then approved by the European Parliament's plenary session on 18 May.
Proposal for a Directive against discrimination outside employment (Matthew Newman)
The Presidency will submit a progress report on the Commission's proposed Directive to combat discrimination based on religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation in areas outside employment (IP/08/1071).
Conclusions on active ageing (Cristina Arigho)
The Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions on active ageing, paving the way for the European year on active ageing 2012.
Conclusions on social security systems and adequate pensions (Cristina Arigho)
Prepared jointly by the Employment committee and Social Protection committee, the interim joint report on pensions reassesses pension reform in Member States over the past ten-fifteen years. It also looks at the impact of the crisis on pensions and challenges for the future and will feed into the upcoming Green Paper on pensions. Ministers are expected endorse the work towards the final report and feed into a set of short formal conclusions to be adopted on June 8th by the Finance Ministers.
Conclusions on New Skills for New Jobs (Cristina Arigho)
Following a Presidency conference held in Barcelona on 8-9 April, Ministers are expected to adopt Council conclusions to:
- Step up the New Skills for New Jobs initiative by further developing EU-level forecasts of employment and skills supply as well as creating tools to link skills and competences to jobs;
- Ensure coherence with the broader Europe 2020 Strategy and its flagship initiative 'Agenda for new skills and jobs'.
Conclusions on disability (Matthew Newman)
Following an informal meeting of ministers in charge of disability policies in Zaragoza on 19 May (IP/10/575), Ministers are expected to adopt conclusions to:
- Support a new European Disability Strategy for the next 10 years
- Promote implementation and application of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities
- Support mainstreaming of disability issues in EU and national policies, including Europe 2020.
Conclusions on Roma inclusion (Matthew Newman, Cristina Arigho)
Following the second European Roma Summit on 8-9 April in Córdoba under the Spanish Presidency and the Commission's adoption of a Communication on social and economic integration of the Roma (IP/10/407 and MEMO/10/121), the Council is expected to adopt conclusions to:
- Move forward with the social and economic integration of the Roma through cooperation between the EU and national governments and better use of policies and financial instruments
- Integrate Roma issues in EU and national policies, including the Europe 2020 Strategy
- Develop a mid-term framework for actions in the context of the Platform for Roma Inclusion.