EMCO is the main advisory committee for Employment and Social Affairs Ministers in the Employment and Social Affairs Council (EPSCO) in the employment field.
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 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:
- is responsible for the text of the Employment Guidelines
- prepares Council Conclusions to be adopted by EPSCO Ministers on the Annual Growth Survey
- agrees the text of the Joint Employment Report (which forms an annex to the Annual Growth Survey) that includes the scoreboard of key employment and social indicators
- prepares the Country-Specific Recommendations (CSRs) in the employment field for adoption by the Council
- provides an opinion to the Council on the functioning of the Semester, and the work of individual countries
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.
- The Employment Performance Monitor (EPM) is a joint Commission-EMCO report summarising the JAF assessment and the key challenges it identifies. It is adopted every October by the Council.
- 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. Results of the last cycle of reviews.
Youth Guarantee and Long-Term Unemployment Recommendation
EMCO also has an important role in monitoring the implementation of the Youth Guarantee and the Recommendation on Long-Term Unemployment. 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 for both Youth and Long-Term Unemployment.
- 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.
- EMCO and the Social Protection Committee have contributed to the work on the European Pillar of Social Rights.