The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 7 December 2017 in Brussels. As Minister of State for Employment, I represented the UK.
The Council agreed a partial general approach on the long-term care and family benefits chapters of the revision of regulations on co-ordination of social security systems—(883/04 and 987/09). The UK explained its abstention due to a parliamentary scrutiny reservation.
The Council agreed a general approach on the European Accessibility Act. The UK supported the aims of the proposal but registered an abstention, reflecting concerns about the clarity of text.
The Council received a progress report on the draft directive on equal treatment (Art. 19) and the draft directive on work-life balance.
The Council gave political agreement to the directive implementing a social partner agreement on the implementation of amendments to the Maritime Labour Convention.
As part of the semester process the European Commission presented the annual growth survey 2018, the draft joint employment report, the alert mechanism report and the draft recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area. They also sought the views and gained the approval of member states on the employment and social aspects of the recommendation on the euro area.
The Council adopted Council conclusions on the following three topics: the future of work: making it e-easy; enhancing community-based support and care for independent living; and on enhanced measures to reduce horizontal gender segregation in education and employment.
Under any other business, the Commission presented information on the EU action plan 2017-2019 on tackling the gender pay gap and on concluding the year of focused actions to eliminate gender-based violence. The Swedish delegation and the Commission presented information on the Social summit (Gothenburg, 17 November 2017) and the Bulgarian delegation presented the work programme of its incoming presidency.