The EPSCO Council works to increase employment levels and improve living and working conditions, ensuring a high level of human health and consumer protection in the EU.
The EPSCO Council brings together ministers responsible for employment, social affairs, health and consumer policy from all EU member states. Relevant European Commissioners also participate in meetings.
There are usually four EPSCO meetings a year. Two of the meetings are generally devoted exclusively to employment and social policy topics.
The overall objective of the EU action is to raise the standard of living and quality of life of its citizens, notably through high-quality jobs and a high level of social and health protection and the protection of consumers' interests.
In the fields of employment and social policy, the Council is responsible for drawing up annual employment guidelines which the member states take into account in their national policies. It also adopts legislation, together with the European Parliament, aimed at improving working conditions, social inclusion and gender equality.
While the member states have full responsibility for defining their health policies and for the organisation and delivery of healthcare, the Council adopts, together with the European Parliament, legislation relating to the quality and safety of human organs and blood, patients' rights in cross-border healthcare and the quality and safety of medicines and medical devices.
As regards consumer protection, the Council adopts, together with the European Parliament, EU-wide rules to protect the health and safety of consumers, as well as their economic interests.