The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 23 October 2017 in Luxembourg. Margot James, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, represented the UK.
The Council agreed the draft interinstitutional proclamation on the European pillar of social rights and gave permission for the presidency to sign on Council’s behalf. It is expected that this will now be officially signed at the Gothenburg social summit on 17 November.
The Council agreed a general approach on the posting of workers directive. Discussion during Council focused on the duration of postings and application to the transport sector. The UK argued for a balanced text which protected workers without disproportionate burdens on business but ultimately, along with Ireland and Croatia, abstained from the vote.
The Council also agreed a partial general approach on two chapters (equal treatment and applicable legislation) revising EU Social Security Co-ordination Regulation 883/2004. The UK voted in support.
Ministers discussed “improving co-operation in cross-border labour mobility to fight fraud and abuse” over lunch.
The Council endorsed the key employment and social challenges, based on the key messages from the Employment and Social Protection Committees, without comment.
Under any other business, the presidency and Commission provided information on the tripartite social summit. The presidency provided information on the Tallinn digital summit and the Commission provided information on the new skills agenda for Europe. The European Institute for Gender Equality gave a presentation on the 2017 gender equality index.