The informal Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 29 and 30 April in Athens. Robert Specterman, deputy director in the DWP European Union and International Affairs represented the United Kingdom.
The informal started with meetings between the presidency, Commission and social partners on the first day.
The second day commenced with two simultaneous workshops discussing the employment and social dimension of the “Europe 2020 Strategy”. The United Kingdom participated in the workshop which discussed “labour market reforms on the way to a job rich recovery”, emphasising the need for tailored approaches to tackling long-term unemployment, using the Work programme as an example of an innovative approach. The United Kingdom also stressed the need for continued focus on employment as the most effective way for people to lift themselves out of poverty.
The meeting concluded with a plenary session on “Towards quality jobs: Measures to prevent undeclared work” including a discussion of the European Commission’s recent proposal to establish a platform on undeclared work. In common with many other member states who intervened, the United Kingdom explained the domestic measures it already takes to address undeclared work. In addition, the United Kingdom highlighted the range of multilateral forums linked to this issue in which it already participates.