The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 20 June 2013 in Luxembourg. I represented the UK.
There was a discussion on the European semester 2013 focusing on a number of documents linked to the European semester. The UK stressed the importance of the semester process in driving forward robust national labour market reforms and called on the Commission to share their staff working documents with member states in advance.
There was a separate discussion on youth employment. The UK cited its labour market flexibility and highlighted the youth contract and the work programme as key factors behind the fall in UK youth unemployment at a time when youth unemployment has risen in the EU.
The Council agreed a general approach on the European globalisation adjustment fund regulation (2014-20). The UK opposed this and stressed concerns about the efficiency of the instrument. There was also a progress report on the fund for European aid for the most deprived regulation.
The presidency secured Council agreement for a general approach on the proposed directive on minimum requirements for enhancing worker mobility by improving the acquisition and preservation of supplementary pension rights. The presidency provided updates on directives on equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation; enforcement of directive 96/71/EC on posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services; and gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges.
Ministers adopted two sets of Council conclusions on social investment for growth and cohesion and on women in the media.
Under any other business, the presidency provided updates on legislative files and preparations for the upcoming G20 Labour and Employment Ministers meeting and joint meeting with Finance Ministers. The Commission presented its legislative proposal on public employment services (PES) and the Lithuanian delegation outlined the work programme of their forthcoming presidency.