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Commission Opinion COM(93) 313 final
Commission Report COM(98) 710 final
Commission Report COM(1999) 502 final
Commission Report COM(2000) 702 final
In its Opinion of July 1993, the Commission considered that Cyprus's accession should not raise any particular problems in the area of social affairs. The social situation today is comparable to that in the other Member States. The November 1998 Report noted the progress made in transposition of Community law, but it also pointed out that further work was necessary, notably in the areas of labour law and health and safety at work.
In November 2000, the Commission Report noted that certain progress had been made in the area of social affairs. The areas of equal treatment and labour law in particular were now much closer to the Acquis.
The Treaty of Accession was signed on 16 April 2003 and accession took place on 1 May 2004.
In the social affairs field, apart from the various specific action programmes, such as those in the area of public health, and the European Social Fund, EU legislation covers health and safety at work, labour law and working conditions, equal opportunities for men and women, coordination of social security schemes for migrant workers, and tobacco products.
In all these areas, EU social legislation lays down minimum requirements, with safeguard clauses for the most advanced Member States.
In addition, the consultation of the social partners and the social dialogue at European level are enshrined in Articles 138 and 139 of the Treaty (ex-Articles 118a and 118b).
The employment situation is satisfactory. The unemployment rate -- about 3% -- is low, compared to the European average. Job creation programmes have been drawn up and adopted in the context of the Government's economic development plans. The main objectives include encouraging better use of human resources in conditions of full employment.
Cyprus is currently harmonising its labour law with that of the EU, but an extra effort is needed if the provisions of the important Directives are to be incorporated. In June 2000, two laws on worker information and the preservation of workers' rights in the event of transfers of enterprises or establishments were adopted. The amended European Social Charter was ratified in September 2000. The main EU provisions concerning equality of opportunity between men and women have already been transposed. A general non-discrimination clause guarantees equal access to work. Legislation is being drafted on parental leave, equal treatment between men and women and the combating of indirect discrimination.
The national safety and health at work legislation is currently being reviewed. In 1997, a law on safety and health at work entered into force, transposing the general principles of Community law. An amended version of the law on the protection of workers from the risk of exposure to asbestos at work was adopted in April 2000. The process of bringing the provisions on health and safety signs at work into line with Community law has been continued through a law adopted in July 2000.
A law providing for the introduction of the general principle of non-discrimination in the area of employment was adopted in July 2000.