Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council configuration (EPSCO)

Council of the EU

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.

How does the EPSCO Council work?

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.

About employment, social, health and consumer affairs policy

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.

Priorities of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council during the Maltese presidency

The Maltese presidency will prepare draft conclusions to promote initiatives aimed at incentivising those in unemployment to enter the labour market. It will also place considerable importance on the labour mobility package and will strive to facilitate the negotiations regarding the targeted revision of the posting of workers directive. Furthermore, the Maltese presidency will continue the work related to the protection of workers against work-related cancer through the negotiations on the revision of the carcinogens directive

In the field of health, the Maltese presidency has defined the fight against childhood obesity as one of the most pressing priorities.