Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Social Protection Committee

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.

SPC members

SPC subgroups

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 current ISG chairperson is Rudi Van Dam (BE) and the current ISG vice-chair is Volker Schmitt (DE).

Work programme

The SPC’s work and deliverables are defined in its work programme:

Main outputs

Annual report

Thematic reports

Social Protection Performance Monitor (SPPM)

The SPC developed in 2012 a monitoring tool which identifies annual key social trends to watch in the EU.

SPC thematic reviews

2017 thematic reviews

2016 thematic reviews

2015 thematic reviews

2014 thematic reviews

2013 thematic reviews

2012 thematic reviews

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.

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