The Social Protection Committee (SPC) is an advisory policy committee to the Ministers in the Employment and Social Affairs Council (EPSCO). The SPC is established with a Council decision under article 160 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU.
The SPC uses as its main policy framework the social Open Method of Coordination (OMC), which aims to meet EU goals in the social policy area. It encompasses all major social policy strands:
The SPC's tasks include:
- monitoring the social situation and the development of social protection policies in the Member States and in the EU,
- promoting discussion and coordination of policy approaches among national governments and the Commission,
- preparing reports, formulating opinions or undertaking other work within its fields of competence, at the request of either the Council, the Commission or on its own initiative,
- preparing Council discussions on social protection and on the country-specific recommendations in the context of the European Semester.
Organisation and working methods
The SPC is composed of two delegates from each Member State and the Commission.
The SPC meets every month except in July and August. Two times per year, the meetings take place in the country holding the Presidency of the Council of the EU.
The SPC elects a chairperson who holds office for a two-year period (renewable once). The current chair is Rait Kuuse (EE).
The chairperson is assisted by a bureau, which consists of the Commission, 4 vice-chairs (2 elected vice-chairs, 1 representative from the current and 1 representative from the next Council Presidency country), the SPC secretary, the General Secretariat of the Council, and the chairperson of the Indicators subgroup. The current elected vice-chairs are Ulrike Neufang (AT) and Peter Lelie (BE).
The SPC Secretariat is provided by the Commission through a team of officials including Georgi Karaghiozov, Paul Minty and Ginta Niedra. The current secretary is Georgi Karaghiozov.
The SPC has one permanent subgroup - the Indicators' subgroup (ISG), which is responsible for developing and defining EU social indicators to monitor Member States' progress towards the objectives underpinning the social OMC. In addition, the SPC may establish ad hoc working groups for in-depth policy work/reports.
The currently active SPC ad hoc subgroups include the Working Group on Pension Adequacy (WG PA) tasked with the development of the next tri-annual Pension Adequacy Report and the Working Group on Long-term Care (WG- LTC) tasked with the development of report on long-term care needs in an ageing society. Both groups will be active until the completion of the reports, which is planned for 2021.
The current ISG chairperson is Kristoffer Lundberg (SE) and the current ISG vice-chair is Volker Schmitt (DE). The WGPA chairperson is Gijs Dekkers (BE) and the WGPA vice-chair is Rute Guerra (PT).
The SPC’s work and deliverables are defined in its work programme:
- Deliverables under the European Semester:
- Analysis of the social protection and social inclusion aspects of the Annual Growth Survey
- Multilateral reviews on the implementation of the country-specific recommendations (CSRs) in the area of social protection and social inclusion and examination of the relevant aspects of the National Reform Programmes
- Preparation for Council adoption of the CSRs related to social protection and social inclusion
- Horizontal assessments of the annual package of CSRs
- Evaluation of the annual European Semester cycle
- European Pillar of Social Rights
- Social dimension of the EMU
- Mid-term-review of the Europe 2020 Strategy
- Previous years
- 2019 Joint paper on pensions by the Economic Policy and the Social Protection Committees
- Assessment of the Europe 2020 strategy – 2019 Joint report of the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee
- Social services that complement active labour market inclusion measures for people of working age who are furthest away from the labour market
- Pension adequacy
- Joint Assessment Framework in the area of Health
- Social protection systems in the EU: financing arrangements and the effectiveness and efficiency of resource allocation
- Child poverty and well-being
- Social services of general interest
- Long-term care (key messages)
- EU countries' social reporting
Social Protection Performance Monitor (SPPM)
The SPC developed in 2012 a monitoring tool which identifies annual key social trends to watch in the EU.
- 2020 SPPM results
- SPPM Country profiles
- Previous years
- About the Social Protection Performance Monitor
SPC thematic reviews
2019 thematic reviews
- Addressing inequalities and promoting active inclusion
- Housing-led enabling social services tackling homelessness and housing exclusion
2018 thematic reviews
- Integrated early childhood development policies as a tool for reducing poverty and promoting social inclusion
- Access to healthcare on the basis of SPC’s Joint Assessment Framework on Health (JAFH)
2017 thematic reviews
2016 thematic reviews
- Reconciliation between private and professional lives
- Social protection aspects of sickness benefits
- The role of social protection systems in facilitating the social inclusion of refugees and asylum-seekers
2015 thematic reviews
2014 thematic reviews
- Access to health
- Indicators and data to monitor developments in access to housing and housing exclusion
2013 thematic reviews
2012 thematic reviews
- The working poor in Europe
- Child poverty and social exclusion
- The poverty risk of the (quasi-) jobless households
Opinions and other working documents produced by the SPC are available using the document database for employment, social affairs and inclusion.
SPC documents can also be downloaded from the public register of the Council of the EU.