The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will be held today, 21 June 2012 in Luxembourg. I will represent the United Kingdom.
The main discussion will be a policy debate on the Europe 2020 strategy: contribution to the European Council (28 and 29 June 2012)—European semester. I will intervene to state that Council recommendations are the most important contribution that the Employment and Social Policy Council (EPSCO) can make to the European Council on structural reforms for growth. I will further state that the Commission should work more with member states to develop recommendations which are still ambitious and challenging but take into account the national context so that they are also credible and deliverable.
There will be progress reports on four topics: legislative initiatives for posting of workers, the European globalisation adjustment fund (2014-20), minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from physical agents (electromagnetic fields) and the principle of equal treatment of persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.
In addition, Ministers will consider two sets of Council conclusions, covering responding to the demographic challenges through enhanced participation in labour market and society by all, and gender equality and the environment; enhanced decision-making, qualifications and competitiveness in the field of climate change mitigation policy in the EU.
The presidency will seek the support of the Council for a partial general approach on the programme for social change and innovation (PSCI). Ministers will also be invited to endorse the main messages from the Social Protection Committee’s report on pensions’ adequacy.
Under any other business, the Commission will provide information on national Roma integration strategies and the ratification and implementation of the UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities and the presidency will provide information on the conferences held during the Danish presidency. The Commission and presidency will report on the G20 meeting of Labour and Employment Ministers, and finally, the Cypriot delegation will outline the work programme of their forthcoming presidency.