Informal EPSCO Council
Social partners’ involvement on agenda
By Sophie Petitjean | Monday 09 July 2012
The informal Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), which will take place on 10-13 July in Nicosia, will be dedicated to three priorities of the new Cyprus Presidency, ie organ donations, cross-border health threats and the involvement of the social partners in the implementation of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy.
The health part of the meeting will start on 10 July with a discussion on organ donation and transplantation. Cyprus is very advanced in the transplantation of human organs from living donors. It wants to make ministers aware of the shortage in human organs intended for transplantation throughout Europe and aims to highlight the need for coordinated actions in the field, at Community level. The Cyprus Presidency hopes that this debate will allow it to prepare respective Council conclusions. After a debate on the issue of health care staff, the ministers should also exchange views on cross-border health threats and the importance of good communication. However, the relevant proposal for a decision, presented in December 2011 by the Commission and currently being discussed in a task force, is set to be talked about only briefly.
The ministers for employment and social affairs, who take over on 12 July, will mainly discuss strengthening the participatory processes and the involvement of social partners, local authorities and the civil society in the implementation of the ‘Europe 2020’ strategy, especially as regards the targets of employment, poverty and social exclusion.
After a meeting with the social platform and the social partners, the 27 ministers will be asked to take part in a workshop of their choice. The Cyprus Presidency has chosen three themes: the role of social partners, NGOs and local authorities in the implementation of the poverty and social exclusion targets; employment targets; and strengthening the involvement of the social partners and NGOs throughout the ‘European semester’ process.
With regard to this last area, the Cyprus Presidency suggests involving the stakeholders as early as at the beginning of the semester to increase their appropriation of the strategy, mapping their exact role in the semester and to further involve civil society and NGOs.
The last part of the meeting will be dedicated to the employment package presented by the Commission in April. The ministers will be asked to give their reaction to the Commission’s proposal to establish effective involvement of the EU social partners on the main strategic priorities in the area of employment policies and to set up an EU three-way format for monitoring and exchanging views on wage developments in relation to productivity, inflation and internal demand, unemployment and income inequalities.