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Labour And Social Affairs Council

Volume 124: debated on Thursday 17 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment if he will make a statement on the European Community Labour and Social Affairs Council held in Brussels on 1 December.

I represented the United Kingdom at the Council.We welcome the adoption by the Council of conclusions on action to combat long-term unemployment which arise from the action programme on employment growth (adopted under the British presidency in December 1986). The conclusions suggest a series of specific measures which might be taken by member states towards reducing the levels of long-term unemployment and invite the Commission to present an action programme.An action programme on the training of young people for adult and working life was adopted. The programme aims to provide all young people in the Community with up to two years vocational training; the Government welcome particularly its emphasis on projects which encourage the development of enterprise.The Council adopted a resolution on safety, health and hygiene at work which sets valuable guidelines for applying the provisions of article 118A of the treaty of Rome; this is a new article introduced under the Single European Act, which gives the Council power, acting by a qualified majority, to adopt minimum requirements for the health and safety of workers. The Council adopted a common position—the first stage in the co-operation procedure with the European Parliament—on a draft directive to proscribe four specified carcinogens.Other matters discussed, but not conclusively, included a fresh action programme for the vocational and social integration of people with disabilities, and a draft directive on protection from the risks of exposure to benzene.