Ministers to review progress made
By Sophie Petitjean | Tuesday 11 December 2012
In spite of its efforts, the Cyprus Presidency did not manage to wrap up discussions on legislative proposals on employment, social policy, health and consumers. The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), held 6-7 December, will therefore merely make a note of progress on these dossiers, draw conclusions and exchange views on the ‘European semester’. The only exception being that ministers are expected to agree a general approach
(1)on aligning the Commission’s existing implementing powers for the so-called ‘breakfast directives’ on sugars, honey, preserved milk, jams, chocolate and fruit juice with Article 290 TFEU on delegated acts.
On 6 December, the ministers will exchange views on ‘Europe 2020’ governance and follow-up of the European Council’s employment and social policy conclusions. The ministers will base their discussion on the ‘Annual growth survey 2013’, the ‘Joint employment report’ as well as the youth employment package presented on 5 December by the Commission. They will also adopt the employment performance monitor and benchmarks – which, as its name suggests, includes for the first times benchmarks for key 2020 targets in relation to the labour market and the main indicators on its evolution.
The Council will then adopt conclusions on fighting violence against women, which requires more resolute action. The Council will also adopt a declaration for the end of the European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. Lastly, the ministers will take stock of progress made on various legislative proposals that are currently being reviewed: ie a proposed directive intended to improve implementation and enforcement of the directive on posting of workers (in particular, they will discuss monitoring measures and joint and several liability), the directive on equal treatment, the regulation on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF), the programme for social change and social innovation, the portability of supplementary pension rights, as well as the programme for the most deprived persons (MDP) of the Community. Over lunch, they will discuss the directive on the participation of women in the executive boards of listed companies.
The session on health will take place in the morning of 7 December. The Council is expected to agree a general approach on aligning the Commission’s existing implementing powers for five so-called ‘breakfast directives’ with the TFEU.
The Council will then adopt two series of conclusions. The first relate to organ donation and transplantation – a mid-term review of the Commission’s plan of action on this issue for the period 2009-2015. The conclusions underline the three main challenges listed in the action plan, ie increasing organ availability, reinforcing the effectiveness and accessibility of transplantation systems and improving quality and security. The second series of conclusions relate to healthy ageing across the life cycle. The conclusions call for renewed efforts to foster the promotion of health, the prevention of sickness and early detection.
Lastly, the Cyprus Presidency will inform ministers of discussions about the health programme for the period 2014-2020 – discussions about the decision relating to serious cross-border health threats and the regulation on food for vulnerable persons. Moreover, the Italian delegation is expected to draw the Council’s attention on the health risks presented by asbestos and will call for a European strategy to be drawn up.(1) See register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/12/st16/st16260.en12.pdf