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Commission welcomes outcomes of EPSCO Council

21/06/2013 Commission welcomes outcomes of EPSCO Council

The European Commission has welcomed the progress made on several important files at the Council of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) in Luxembourg on 20/21 June. The Council reached agreements on pension portability and on the European Globalisation Fund. Ministers also adopted new rules to protect workers from harmful electromagnetic fields.

Pension portability

The EPSCO Council agreed on a general approach on the Commission's proposal for a Directive on improving the portability of supplementary pension rights.

The Directive, as it has been agreed upon in Council, requires Member States to implement minimum requirements for the acquisition and preservation of pension rights for people who go to work in another Member State.

Member States remain responsible for the conditions under which people change jobs within the same country but the Commission expects that Member States will decide to apply the standards laid down by this Directive also to internal mobility.

The Council's agreement on the general approach paves the way for adoption of the Directive in the current mandate of the European Parliament.

Protecting workers against electromagnetic fields

The new Directive will protect workers such as doctors and nurses giving patients magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI), people working with radar, welders and workers repairing power lines.

The proposed Directive will clarify the definitions of adverse effects on health, introduce an updated exposure limits system (frequencies that are recognised as having harmful effects on the human cardiovascular system or the central nervous system), as well as a number of provisions to make it easier for employers to carry out the risk assessments required by law.

Member States will have to implement the Directive in their national law by 1 July 2016.

European Globalisation Fund

The European Globalisation Fund (EGF) exists to help workers develop new skills and find new jobs when they have lost their jobs as a result of changing global trade patterns.

The Council agreed to continue the EGF in the 2014-20 period and to reinstate the 'crisis clause', under which the EGF can also be used to help workers who lost their jobs as a consequence of the global financial and economic crisis.

The general approach will now go to the European Parliament of their consideration.