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Brussels, 20 October 2010
Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, 21 October 2010, Brussels
The Council of EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Ministers will meet on 21 October in Luxembourg. The European Commission will be represented by Vice-President Viviane Reding, the Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Commissioner and László Andor, Commissioner in charge of Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. The outcomes of the meeting will also foster discussions at the forthcoming Tripartite Social Summit on 28th October and the European Council on 28th and 29th October.
Main agenda items for employment and social Policy will be on the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy:
• Decision on the employment guidelines for the member states
• Debate and conclusions on the governance of the European Employment Strategy in the framework of Europe 2020 and the "European Semester"
• Orientation debate about social protection and social inclusion within Europe 2020 and its governance
• Exchange of views among ministers on the European Commission's flagship initiative 'Youth on the Move' in the framework of Europe 2020
In addition, the Belgium Presidency will inform about the preparation of the Tripartite Social Summit, its work for the inclusion of the Roma people, the recent Roundtable on poverty and social exclusion and the conclusions of the Trio Presidency (Spain, Belgium, Hungary) on child poverty. The European Commission will present its Green Paper on adequate, sustainable and secure pensions. Furthermore, the Ministers are expected to endorse an opinion by the Employment Committee on 'making transitions pay'. Over lunch, ministers will be asked for their views on and strategies for "effective employment policies to mitigate a jobless recovery in times of fiscal austerity".
Decision on the employment guidelines for the member states
These guidelines are part of the integrated guidelines of the Europe 2020 strategy and support its headline targets. Ministers are expected to reach an agreement on these guidelines, which according to article 148 of the Treaty shall be drawn up each year on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, the Economic and Social Committee, the Committee of the Regions and the Employment Committee.
Debate and conclusions on the governance of the European Employment Strategy in the framework of Europe 2020 and the "European Semester"
The Europe 2020 strategy will imply a number of changes to the way the Council operates and to the recommendations and policy advice it will issue. Since the informal EPSCO of 9th July 2010, where the Ministers discussed the topic with the President of the European Council, the topic was subject to intense discussions between Member States and the Commission. The conclusions; on which EPSCO may find agreement, will lay out the results of this discussion. The conclusions might furthermore enrich the debate at the Tripartite Social Summit and the European Council at the end of this month.
Orientation debate about social protection and social inclusion within Europe 2020 and its governance
This debate will be based to some extent on an opinion by the Social Protection Committee on the social dimension of Europe 2020. The opinion has been requested by the Employment and Social Affairs Minsters at their informal Council on 9th July. The ministers are expected to endorse it at this EPSCO.
Exchange of views among ministers on the European Commission's flagship initiative 'Youth on the Move"
Commissioner Andor's presentation and the subsequent exchange of views will cover the employment aspects of that flagship initiative that sets out a package of policy initiatives for young people and defines an agenda for improving education and employment for young Europeans in the next decade.
Information point on the inclusion of Roma people by the Belgium Presidency
The Belgium Presidency will review its ongoing activities in the field. It is expected that the Commission will also be given the opportunity to explain its own current and future initiatives, for instance:
• the Commission's Roma Task Force that analyses Member States' use of EU funds and will present its findings by the end of 2010.
• the high-level events that the Commission organises in the Member States to raise awareness of the opportunities offered by EU Funds to improve the situation of Roma. These events, of which the most recent one took place in Romania, also aim to promote a more efficient use of funds.
• the EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies that the Commission will present in April next year.