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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 14 October 2013

Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers, 15 October 2013, Luxembourg

The EU's Council of Employment and Social Policy Ministers will meet on 15 October in Luxembourg. Key issues under discussions are the posting of workers enforcement directive, implementation of measures to tackle youth unemployment and the social dimension of the EMU. The Council will be chaired by Ms Algimanta Pabedinskienė, Minister of Social Security and Labour of Lithuania. The European Commission will be represented by Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor.

Proposed enforcement Directive on posting of workers

The Council is due to start with a discussion on the proposed Directive on the enforcement of EU rules on the posting of workers. The Commission presented its proposal in March 2012 (see IP/12/267).

Commissioner László Andor will urge the Council to reach an agreement on a so called "general approach", which would constitute a basis for negotiations with the European Parliament.

Specifically, as proposed the new enforcement Directive would:

  • require Member States to better inform workers and companies about their rights and obligations

  • improve cooperation between national authorities in charge of posting so that they can more easily crack down on suspected cases of abuse.

  • better define posted workers so as to tackle so-called 'letter-box companies' (where a company without any genuine economic activity in one country is used to employ workers supposedly 'posted' to another Member State)

  • better define the responsibilities of national authorities to supervise posted workers

  • improve the enforcement of workers' rights, including the introduction of joint and several liability of companies in the construction sector that use posted workers – so that if a company sending posted workers 'disappears', the company using the workers has to pay any missing wages.

Social Dimension of the EMU

The Council is due to hold a policy debate on the Commission Communication on the Social Dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), presented on 2 October (see IP/13/893, MEMO/13/837). In its Communication, the Commission proposed to create a scoreboard to follow key employment and social developments. The indicators in the scoreboard would include:

  1. the unemployment level and the way it evolves

  2. the NEET rate (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training) and youth unemployment rate

  3. the real gross disposable income of households

  4. the at-risk-of-poverty rate of the working age population

  5. inequalities

These indicators will serve to reinforce the surveillance of major employment and social imbalances that can pose a threat to the long-term sustainability of the monetary union, therefore allowing an early identification and prevention of crisis.

Commissioner Andor will call on the Council to endorse the principle of this scoreboard. The Ministers' discussion will serve to prepare the input of the Employment and Social Affairs' Council to the October European Council. The Tripartite Social Summit taking place in Brussels on 24 October will also discuss next steps towards a social dimension of the EMU, and will contribute to enhance the involvement of the social partners.

Youth Employment

The Council is due to discuss the state of implementation of the Youth Guarantee and the Youth Employment Initiative. Commissioner Andor is due to call on Member States to submit their national implementation plans as soon as possible. The Commission is ready to provide support to Member States in drafting these plans, for example by bringing together national experts at a conference on the implementation of Youth Guarantee schemes in La Hulpe on 17-18 October.

The Council is expected to adopt a Declaration on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships, following the Joint Declaration signed with the Commission and employees' and employers' representatives on 2 July (see IP/13/634). The Alliance aims to fight youth unemployment by improving the quality and supply of apprenticeships across the EU through a broad partnership of employment and education stakeholders. The Commission will welcome the Declaration, while indicating it would have preferred a more ambitious text, and will call on Member States to come forward with concrete pledges under the Alliance.

Commissioner Andor will also recall that the Commission will propose two other initiatives to fight youth unemployment before the end of the year:

  1. A Quality Framework for Traineeships, which would enable young people to acquire high-quality work experience under safe conditions and to guard against traineeships being exploited by companies as a source of cheap labour.

  2. New legislation to strengthen EURES, the European job search network. The objective is to offer more jobs and to better match employers seeking to recruit people with particular skills with jobseekers that have those skills in other EU countries.

Evaluation of the 2013 European Semester in employment and social policies

The Council will discuss the evaluation of the 2013 European Semester as regards employment and social policies. During the meeting the Council will be asked to endorse the contributions from the Employment and the Social Protection Committees. The Council will be invited to draw lessons from the 2013 European Semester with a view to further improving the process in 2014. The debate will be steered by a Presidency paper.

Court of Auditor's report on the EGF

The Council is due to adopt without discussion Conclusions on the European Court of Auditors' Special report: "Has the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund delivered EU added value in re-integrating redundant workers?".

AOB - On-going legislative issues

The Presidency will inform the Council on on-going legislative proposals:

  • European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF): The European Globalisation Fund helps workers develop new skills and find new jobs when they have lost their jobs as a result of changing global trade patterns. The 20th June Employment and social Affairs Council agreed on a "general approach" to continue the EGF in the 2014-20 period and to reinstate the 'crisis clause', under which the EGF can also be used to help workers who lost their jobs as a consequence of the global financial and economic crisis (see MEMO/13/600).

  • Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD): The Fund would support Member State schemes providing food to the most deprived people and clothing and other essential goods to homeless people and materially-deprived children. The Commission foresaw a budget of €2.5 billion for the Fund during the period 2014-2020 as part of its June 2011 proposal for a Multiannual Financial Framework (see IP/12/1141).

  • Free Movement of Workers: In April 2013 the European Commission proposed measures to ensure the better application of EU law on people's right to work in another Member State and so make it easier for people to exercise their rights in practice. The proposal aims to overcome certain obstacles and prevent discrimination against workers on the basis of nationality by proposing practical solutions (see IP/13/372, MEMO/13/384).

  • Classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals: In February 2013, the Commission proposed to amend five existing EU health and safety Directives on protection of workers from exposure to harmful chemicals to align them with the latest rules on classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals (see IP/13/158).


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