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«16611/2/09 REV 2 (en) (Presse 348) PRESS RELEASE 2980th Council meeting Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Brussels, 30 November ...»

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EN

COU CIL OF

THE EUROPEA U IO

16611/2/09 REV 2 (en) (Presse 348)

PRESS RELEASE

2980th Council meeting

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

Brussels, 30 November - 1 December 2009

President Mr Sven Otto LITTORI

Minister for Employment

Ms yamko SABU I

Minister for Integration and Equal Opportunities Ms Maria LARSSO Minister for Elderly Care and Public Health Mr Göran HÄGGLU D Minister for Health and Social Affairs PRESS Rue de la Loi 175 B – 1048 BRUSSELS T el.: +32 ( 0)2 281 5394 / 6319 Fa x: +32 (0)2 281 8026 press.office@consilium.europa.eu http://www.consilium.europa.eu/Newsroom 16611/2/09 REV 2 (en) (Presse 348) 1 E

30.XI-1.XII.2009 Main results of the Council The Council held two public policy debates. The first debate focused on how to recover from the crisis and prepare for the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy. Within this context, ministers adopted conclusions on promoting labour market inclusion - recovering from the crisis and preparing for the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy. The second debate focused on gender equality: strengthening growth and employment. Ministers also adopted conclusions on this topic.

Furthermore, the Council adopted conclusions on

• healthy and dignified ageing, and on

• the follow-up of the implementation of the Beijing Platform of Action Beijing 15+": a review of progress.

The Council reached political agreement on

• a draft directive giving legal effect to a revised framework agreement on parental leave concluded by the social partners at European level, notably extending workers' right to parental leave from three to four months for each parent,

• a decision authorising member states to ratify the work in fishing convention of the International Labour Organisation and

• a draft directive on the principle of equal treatment between men and women engaged in an activity in a self-employed capacity.

Ministers adopted conclusions on

• innovative incentives for effective antibiotics,

• safe and efficient healthcare through eHealth and

• alcohol and health.

Ministers held an exchange of views on pandemic A(H1N1) as an update and follow-up to the Council meeting of 12 October 2009, on the basis of information from the Presidency.

Without debate, the Council adopted a recommendation calling on the member states to take legal action to protect their citizens from exposure to tobacco smoke.

–  –  –

PARTICIPA TS

ITEMS DEBATED

Employment and social policy

Recovering from the crisis and preparing for the post-2010 Lisbon strategy

Revised framework agreement on parental leave

Healthy and dignified ageing

Work in Fishing Convention

Gender equality: Strengthening growth and employment

Beijing Platform of Action - "Beijing 15+"

Social protection of self-employed workers and assisting spouses

Equal treatment irrespective of religion, disability, age or sexual orientation

Health

Patients' rights in cross-border healthcare

Innovative incentives for effective antibiotics

Safe and efficient healthcare through eHealth

Pharmaceuticals package

Alcohol and Health

Pandemic A(H1N1)

Other business

Employment and social policy items

Health items

Where declarations, conclusions or resolutions have been formally adopted by the Council, this is indicated in the heading for the item concerned and the text is placed between quotation marks.

Documents for which references are given in the text are available on the Council's Internet site (http://www.consilium.europa.eu).

Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by an asterisk; these statements are available on the Council's Internet site or may be obtained from the Press Office.

–  –  –

OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

HEALTH

– Council acts against tobacco smoke exposure

– Temporary derogations for blood donors - committee procedure

AGRICULTURE

– Corrections to the "Health check" of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP)*

– Codification of legislative acts in the field of agriculture

FISHERIES

– Pacific Ocean - Protection of migratory fish stocks

– Guide prices for the 2010 fishing year*

TRADE POLICY

– Codification of exceptional trade measures

– Anti-dumping regulation - Codified version

ENERGY

– International partnership for energy efficiency cooperation

ENVIRONMENT

– Protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic

– Carbon leakage: list of sectors

– Access to spatial data - committee procedure

–  –  –

ITEMS DEBATED

Employment and social policy Recovering from the crisis and preparing for the post-2010 Lisbon strategy The ministers held a public policy debate1 on this item, replying to two questions put by the





Presidency:

– which are the necessary measures to be implemented to enable the EU to exit the current recession both with structurally stronger labour markets and well-prepared for the EU's long term objectives?

– which elements of labour markets and social security policies are conducive to creating more inclusive labour markets, in order to ensure an increased labour supply in the long run?

Ministers in general agreed that, given the prospect of continuing deterioration of labour markets, an active employment policy with short-term measures must be maintained. This include measures such as short-time working arrangements, the improvement of employability through training and measures aimed at including in the labour market people who are in danger of being permanently excluded. A strong focus should be put on people who are particularly hard-hit by the crisis, notably the elderly, young people, workers with fixed-term contracts and people with disabilities. With regard to the long term, ministers called for a continuation of structural reforms. More specifically, many ministers pleaded for a reform of the social security systems in order to cope with the population trend, to ensure financial sustainability and to create incentives for taking up a job.

These measures should be complemented by an improved offer of childcare and care for the elderly, thus creating the conditions for accepting a new job, to be coordinated with measures under the EU structural funds. Ministers also made it clear that the errors that had been made during previous crises, such as premature retirement from the labour market, should be avoided. Furthermore, the Council in charge of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs stressed the need for closer cooperation with other Council configurations, including the configuration in charge of Economic and Financial Affairs.

Public events of the Council can be followed by video streaming at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/videostreaming

–  –  –

With regard to the Post-2010 Lisbon Strategy, ministers agreed that the creation of jobs should remain at its heart. Many ministers also wisehd to strengthen the social dimension of the strategy and to include further challenges such as the demographic evolution, climate change, gender equality and increased competition due to globalisation. Several ministers stressed the importance of involving the social partners in the discussion of the future strategy.

The outcome of the policy debate will contribute to the preparation of the December European Council conclusions.

During the debate, the Council adopted conclusions entitled "Promoting labour market inclusion recovering from the crisis and preparing for the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy" emphasising that measures to support the economy and employment should be maintained until sustainable recovery is secured, while exit strategies are in place which lead to more and better jobs. These conclusions are based on the high-level conference on labour market inclusion held in Stockholm on 26 and 27 October and are set out in (16214/09).1 The ministers also endorsed an opinion from the Employment Committee on the European Employment Strategy within the post-2010 Lisbon Agenda (15529/09) and another from the Social Protection Committee on the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy (15850/09), supporting calls for a stronger social dimension in the post-2010 Lisbon Agenda.

The Council took note of:

• the Commission background paper: "The Employment Crisis: Trends, Policy Responses and Key Actions" (15995/09);

• the second joint report of the Social Protection Committee and the Commission on the social impact of the crisis (16169/09);

• the analytical paper of the Employment Committee: "Bringing more people into labour markets" (15530/09);

• the policy conclusions of the Employment Committee: "The 2009 Cambridge Review of the National Reform Programme - Policy Conclusions" (16215/09).

This and other documents mentioned in this press release can be found in the public register of the Council by typing in the corresponding number http://www.consilium.europa.eu/showPage.aspx?id=549&lang=en

–  –  –

Revised framework agreement on parental leave The ministers reached political agreement on a draft directive implementing the revised framework agreement on parental leave concluded by the social partners at European level (15994/09). This agreement lays down minimum requirements for parental leave designed to contribute to better reconciliation of professional and family life and to promote gender equality on the labour market.

The new directive, to be applied by early 2012, in particular extends workers' right to parental leave from three to four months for each parent. At least one month of this leave cannot be transferred from one parent to another. This is to encourage fathers to take on more family responsibilities.

Other new elements compared to the previous agreement of 1995 include the clarification that fixed-term, part-time and temporary agency workers are also covered. A qualification period may be required but it must not exceed one year. Parents returning from parental leave will have the right to request flexible working arrangements and employers must consider and respond to these requests.

In accordance with the EU treaty, social partners may jointly request that agreements concluded by them at EU level on a number of matters be implemented by a Council decision. The recent agreement on parental leave was concluded in June 2009 between four European cross-industry social partners: BUSINESSEUROPE (Confederation of European Business), UEAPME (European Association of Craft, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises), CEEP (European Centre of Employers and Enterprises providing Public Services) and ETUC (European Trade Union Confederation). It replaces their previous agreement of December 1995 implemented by Council directive 96/34, which will be repealed by the new directive.

–  –  –

Healthy and dignified ageing The Council adopted conclusions on healthy and dignified ageing, highlighting the importance of improved cooperation between the member states to enhance dignity in elderly care in the EU. The conclusions are set out in (14996/09).

By adopting the conclusions, the Council invited the member states to make the issue of healthy and dignified ageing one of their priorities for the coming years and to shift their focus towards preventive measures in order to reduce the burden of chronic diseases, frailty and disability.

Healthier ageing would also allow the costs of care to be reduced and could partially offset the financial impact of demography in the health and social sectors. The Commission will be invited to consider coming forward with an action plan for further activities in 2011 to promote dignity, health and quality of life for older persons.

Work in Fishing Convention The Council reached political agreement on a decision authorising member states to ratify the Work in Fishing Convention of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in matters within the exclusive competence of the EU (15960/09 + ADD 1 + ADD 2).

The Work in Fishing Convention ("Convention 188"), which was adopted in June 2007 at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, is aimed at improving the working conditions of fishers on board fishing vessels. It establishes, in particular, minimum international standards for the fishing sector, such as the conditions of service, the right of repatriation, rules on accommodation and food, occupational health and safety, medical care and social security.

Legal basis: Article 42 (measures in the field of social security) in conjunction with the second sentence of the first subparagraph of article 300(2) and the first subparagraph of article 300(3) (conclusion of agreements with international organisations); unanimity required for a Council decision; consultation procedure: the European Parliament adopted its resolution in January 2009.

–  –  –

Gender equality: Strengthening growth and employment The Council adopted conclusions on "Gender equality: strengthening growth and employment" (15488/09), following a public policy debate based on the question: "What actions are required to strengthen gender equality in the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy and to ensure that policy responses to the recession promote gender equality?" During the debate, ministers agreed that gender mainstreaming and gender-specific issues should be prominently reflected in the post-2010 Lisbon Strategy and in future employment and social policies, as they considered gender equality to be in line with the objectives of growth and jobs.



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