The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council met on 6 December 2018 in Brussels. The deputy permanent representative to the European Union, Katrina Williams, represented the UK.
Two legislative proposals achieved general approach at the Council. These were the proposed regulation establishing a European labour agency and a third batch of amendments to the worker protection directive on carcinogens and mutagens.
The Council reached political agreement on a recommendation on access to social protection for workers and self-employed and there were presidency conclusions on gender equality, youth and digitalisation.
The Council also discussed the European semester. As part of this agenda item, the Council approved a contribution to the draft recommendation on the economic policy of the euro area made jointly by the Employment Committee (EMCO) and the Social Protection Committee (SPC); endorsed their joint messages on aspects of digitalisation and robotisation; and endorsed EMCO’s key messages on the latest biennial assessment of member states progress tackling long-term unemployment.
There were a number of progress reports and information items during the Council. These included an update on progress in negotiations regarding a regulation on the European globalisation adjustment fund (EGF); a proposal from 2008 for a directive on equal treatment; and a presentation from the Commission on its 2019 “Autumn Package” of annual growth survey, alert mechanism report, and draft joint employment report.
The Council closed with updates on the status of other legislative files, broader developments in the field of employment and social policy, and an overview of the priorities of the incoming Romanian presidency.