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The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

Volume 516: debated on Thursday 14 October 2010

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will be held on 21 October 2010 in Luxembourg. Andy Lebrecht, UK deputy permanent representative to the EU, will represent the United Kingdom.

The main item on the agenda will be Europe 2020, including two separate discussions on the employment and social dimensions. On employment governance, Council will adopt conclusions and hold an orientation debate. The UK will stress that what the December Council finally endorses for assessment and monitoring must adhere to the relevant treaty basis. On social protection, Council will adopt the Social Protection Committee opinion and hold another orientation debate, in which the UK will stress the need to respect subsidiarity and focus on the outcomes of poverty reduction through exchange of experience, rather than the Commission monitoring the situation in member states.

The Commission will provide information on the employment aspects of its flagship initiative, Youth on the Move. The UK welcomes the focus on supporting young people’s access to the job market through better education, training and mobility.

The Council will adopt the employment guidelines which were politically endorsed by the June European Council (JEC) before the European Parliament (EP) consultation required by the treaty ended. In response to the EP report, the presidency only proposed amendments to the recitals so the JEC agreement stands. Council will also adopt the Employment Committee opinion on active and positive transitions. The opinion is about making work pay and has focused on a life-cycle approach covering movement either from unemployment to employment or between jobs, giving more attention than previously to activation, skills and flexible working.

The Belgian presidency will provide information on the preparation for the Tripartite Social Summit, which will discuss how to encourage more jobs as we come out of the recession.

Under any other business, there will be information from the Commission on the Green Paper on pensions and the presidency will provide an update on the work being done at European level to promote the inclusion of the Roma. There will also be information on various conferences including the round table on poverty and the conference on child poverty and child wellbeing.