The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 17-18 April 2018 in Sofia, Bulgaria. DWP officials represented the United Kingdom at this informal Council.
The agenda consisted of presentations from experts and panel discussions among experts, member states, the presidency and the Commission.
The first day focused on how member states and social partners can deliver upon principle one of the European Pillar of Social Rights: education, training and life-long learning. Following an opening plenary, a number of speakers presented on themes including early childhood development, and the implementation of the Council recommendation on upskilling pathways. Panellists then reflected on how to best provide upskilling opportunities for adults.
The second day centred on delivering on principle four of the European Pillar of Social Rights: active support to employment. The Commission first took stock of progress against the Council recommendation on the integration of the long-term unemployed into the labour market and the youth guarantee. A presentation was then provided by Eurofound on the remaining challenges with regard to integrating young people and the long-term unemployed into the labour market. Panellists then discussed domestic measures being taken to address the challenges.
The informal Council concluded with remarks from the EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills, and Labour Mobility, and Dr Biser Petkov, Minister of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Bulgaria.