The Employment Committee (EMCO) was created by a Council Decision in 2000, on the basis of Art. 150 of the TFEU. It operates within the policy framework of the European Employment Strategy.
EMCO is the main advisory committee for Employment and Social Affairs Ministers in the Employment and Social Affairs Council (EPSCO) in the employment field. (List of EMCO members)
EMCO meets regularly throughout the year, and holds regular discussions with the European social partners (trade unions and employers). It also meets regularly with other related Council committees (especially the committees for Economic Policy, Social Protection, and Education) to discuss issues of joint interest.
EMCO has two sub-groups:
- The policy analysis group provides evidence based advice to underpin EMCO work and debate.
- The indicators group carries out the technical work on the indicators which are used in monitoring the EU employment strategy.
The majority of EMCO's work nowadays is centred around advising Ministers on the European Semester. EMCO:
Since 2011, EMCO has pioneered work on monitoring member countries’ progress implementing reforms within the Semester and working towards the EU2020 targets. This process is known as multilateral surveillance. It relies on a number of tools:
- The Joint Assessment Framework (JAF) is an analytical tool based on a set of commonly agreed indicators showing good and bad performance towards the main Europe 2020 targets. A joint proposal for the JAF was put forward in 2010.
- The Employment Performance Monitor (EPM) is a joint Commission-EMCO report summarising the JAF assessment and the key challenges it identifies. It is adopted twice a year by the Council and the latest version is also available in French and German). It contains a benchmarking tool for easy comparison of performance against the EU average.
- Reviews of national reforms: EMCO conducts a number of reviews of Member State policy initiatives to tackle challenges identified in the CSRs or the EPM. These assessments play an important role in allowing EMCO and the Member States to assess new Commission proposals for CSRs under the European Semester.
EMCO also has an important role in monitoring the implementation of the Youth Guarantee. It does so through a combination of reviews of the progress of individual Member States towards the objectives of the guarantee and an agreed indicator framework.
- EMCO participates and contributes to the Macroeconomic Dialogue (Cologne process).
- EMCO provides thematic opinions to the Council, or prepares Council conclusions, upon request of the Presidency or on its own initiative. For example, in March 2015 the Council adopted Conclusions on inclusive labour markets, which EMCO had prepared.