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Brussels, 2 July 2008

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Renewed Social Agenda: The elements of the package

Employment and social affairs

  • Communication from the Commission "Renewed social agenda: Opportunities, access and solidarity in 21st century Europe. This "umbrella Communication" outlines the rational and structure of the renewed social agenda. It also gives a wide-ranging overview of existing and new measures and instruments in the context of social Europe and the Renewed Social Agenda and provides an outlook towards future initiatives (see also MEMO/08/466 on the EU's social achievements up to now).
  • Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the establishment of a European Works Council or a procedure in Community-scale undertakings and Community-scale groups of undertakings for the purposes of informing and consulting employees (recast), Proposal for a revised Directive on European Works Councils (see IP/08/1073 + MEMO/08/468). This proposal will improve the role of European Works Councils in informing and consulting employees.
  • Commission Staff Working Document "The role of transnational company agreements in the context of increasing international integration" (see IP/08/1073). An analysis of the agreements concluded between management and workers' representatives in companies located in several countries.
  • Commission Staff Working Document "Restructuring and Employment: the contribution of the European Union". A report on the contribution of the EU in dealing with the effects of restructuring on employment.
  • Commission Staff Working Document "Report on the implementation of the European social partners' Framework Agreement on Telework" (see IP/08/1073). A comprehensive account of how this ground-breaking agreement by employers' and workers' representatives has been implemented throughout the EU.
  • Proposal for a Council Directive implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation (see IP/08/1071 + MEMO/08/461). Legislative proposal to complete the existing European legal framework to combat discrimination.
  • Communication from the Commission "Non-discrimination and equal opportunities: A renewed commitment"(see IP/08/1071 + MEMO/08/461). The Commission's overall policy approach to tackling discrimination as a follow-up to the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities.
  • Commission Staff Working Document on "Community Instruments and Policies for Roma Inclusion"(see IP/08/1072 + MEMO/08/462). A specific report on the situation of Europe's Roma minority and the tools that exist at European and national levels to improve it.
  • Commission Staff Working Document "First biennial report on the situation of social services of general interest in the EU" (see MEMO/08/465). An analysis of the role and situation of social services of general interest in Europe as well as the challenges faced.
  • Communication from the Commission "A renewed commitment to social Europe: Reinforcing the Open Method of Coordination for Social Protection and Social Inclusion". A revision of the EU's system for coordinating national policies to tackle poverty and guarantee social protection.
  • Communication from the Commission "Solidarity in the face of change: The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) in 2007 - Review and Prospects" (see MEMO/08/464). The first annual report on the functioning of the EU's fund to support those negatively affected by globalisation.
  • Commission Staff Working Document "Report on the EU contribution to promoting decent work for all in the world" (see MEMO/08/463). A follow-up to the Commission's 2006 Communication on decent work and the progress made since.
  • Proposal for a Council Directive implementing the Agreement concluded by the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) and the European Transport Workers’' Federation (ETF) on the Maritime Labour Convention, 2006 and amending Directive 1999/63/EC. A proposal to incorporate international maritime working standards in European law following an agreement by European social partners in the sector.

Education and youth

  • Communication from the Commission "Improving competences for the 21st Century: An Agenda for European Cooperation on Schools". In this Communication, the Commission is proposing an agenda for cooperation among the Member States in three main areas, to make school systems more relevant to pupils' and employers’ needs:

First, there needs to be a focus on giving all pupils the competences they need for life in our rapidly changing knowledge society. This includes: increasing levels of reading literacy and numeracy; reinforcing learning-to-learn skills; and modernising curricula, learning materials, teacher training, and assessment accordingly.

Second, there needs to be a commitment to provide high quality learning for every student. This involves generalising pre-school education; improving equity in school systems; reducing early school leaving; and improving support within mainstream schooling for students with special needs.

Third, Member States need to strive to improve the quality of teachers and school staff. This will require more and higher quality teacher education; more effective teacher recruitment; and help for school leaders to focus on improving learning.

  • Green Paper on Education of Migrant Children

In its Green Paper "Migration & Mobility: challenges and opportunities for EU education systems", the Commission takes the view that policies significantly influence school performance, and points out that those systems that strongly prioritise equity in education are also the most effective in integrating migrant pupils. The Paper consequently explores the issues of how to prevent the creation of segregated school settings, so as to improve equity in education; how to accommodate the increased diversity of mother tongues and cultural perspectives and build intercultural skills in the EU; and how to adapt teaching skills and build bridges with migrant families and communities.

  • Proposal for a Council Recommendation on mobility of young volunteers across Europe Recommendation on the mobility of volunteers. This Recommendation is the first ever in the area of youth policy. It is an initiative to create more opportunities for young people to volunteer across Europe. Young people who wish to volunteer in another Member State currently do not have enough opportunities to do so. With this proposal, the Commission is encouraging Member States to improve the interoperability of national youth volunteering schemes in order to make it easier for a volunteer from one country to participate in the volunteering schemes of another. The proposal does not call for radical change, but rather an evolution of mechanisms that already exist within the Member States.


  • Proposal for a Directive on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare. This proposal for a directive aims at clarifying and promoting the right of patients to gain access to healthcare in another EU country by ensuring, at the same time, high quality and safe cross border healthcare throughout Europe. On this basis, patients will be able to make an informed choice, in full confidence about the reimbursement that they are entitled to and about safety and quality of the care that they will receive. It will also provide a basis for increased cooperation between healthcare systems. The EC aims as well to better sharing of expertise, innovation and information. The challenge is to give more opportunities and guarantees to citizens without affecting the financial sustainability of national health systems.
  • Communication from the Commission 'A Community framework on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare'

Information society

  • Commission Staff Working Document "A renewed social agenda for Europe: Citizens Wellbeing in the Information Society", three concrete elements from the Staff Working paper upon which 2 IPs will be issued as part of the Social package:

- eHealth:

Recommendation on cross-border interoperability of electronic health record (EHR) systems: The Recommendation aims to provide Member States with basic principles and guidelines for ensuring that vital information on patients is accessible anywhere at any time throughout Europe – no matter where the patient or doctor are based. It will address the steps that Member States should take to establish an EHR system compatible with those in other Member States.

Large scale pilot project on Smart Open Services (SOS): The new project will strive to ensure compatibility of electronic medical information (including a summary of essential information such as blood group, known allergies, medical conditions) regardless of language or sophistication of technology and without having to establish one common system throughout Europe.

- e-accessibility: A public consultation will be launched to explore possibilities for making websites and information and communication technologies and services in general, more user friendly, especially for people with disabilities and functional limitations.

Economic affairs

  • Commission Staff working Document"Efficiency and effectiveness of social spending". The staff working document contains suggests ways how to spend public money more efficiently in the field of social protection, e.g. by ensuring that social policies and tax systems do not act as a disincentive to work and encourage life-long learning; through policies fostering education and human capital formation throughout the life cycle and through developing a culture of systematic evaluation of the money we spend must be

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