Council agrees on the posting of workers
The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council on 9 and 10 December 2013 reached a general approach on the posting of workers directive.
The proposed directive aims to increase the protection of workers temporarily posted abroad by improving the supervision and enforcement of the rules of the posting of workers directive 96/71/EC.
"This is a very important agreement that will bring benefits to all member states, regardless of whether they are a hosting or a sending state. The directive will help improve the rights of the posted workers and will prevent possible abuse and infringements. It will also contribute to fair competition and equal conditions", said Algimanta Pabedinskienė, Lithuanian minister for social security and labour, who chaired the meeting.
Posting is essential to make possible the cross-border provision of services in sectors such as construction, agriculture and transport. It also plays an important role in providing specialised, high-skilled services, such as information technology.
The general approach will enable the Council to start negotiations on the proposal with the European Parliament.
The Council discussed the implementation of measures to tackle youth unemployment, in particular:
- Youth Guarantee schemes: to help ensure that all young people under 25 get a quality offer of employment, continued education, an apprenticeship or traineeship within four months of leaving school or becoming unemployed
- Youth Employment Initiative: EU funding to support young people in regions where youth unemployment rates are above 25%
Member states experiencing high youth unemployment rates were asked in June to submit their Youth Guarantee implementation plans by the end of 2013.
The Commission also presented a proposal for a Council recommendation on a quality framework for traineeships.
Other topics on the agenda
The Council held an exchange of views on the 2014 European Semester in the field of employment and social policy. It approved a scoreboard of key employment and social indicators (unemployment, youth unemployment, household disposable income, the at-risk-of-poverty rate and income inequalities), included for the first time in the Joint Employment Report.
The scoreboard will allow for better and earlier identification of major employment and social problems in the member states participating in the Economic and Monetary Union.
The ministers exchanged views on two draft regulations on medical devices and on in vitro diagnostic medical devices. Unlike medicinal products, devices such as bone screws, heart valves and blood tests are not subject to any pre-market authorisation. The aim of both proposals is to strengthen transparency and the safety of those devices.
The presidency informed the Council about the state of play in the negotiations with the European Parliament on a revised draft EU tobacco directive, which aims to make tobacco products less attractive for consumers.