EU Employment Ministers under Irish Presidency approve European Council recommendations on employment and social policy reforms.
EU Employment Ministers today agreed the general approach of the European Council of Ministers on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF). The EGF provides co-financing support for approved programmes of guidance, training, education and enterprise supports for workers made redundant as a result of the adverse impacts of globalisation.
This agreement now enables Council to enter into negotiations immediately with the European Parliament. If agreed with Parliament, the EGF is expected to fund approved labour market activation measures up to a maximum €1.05 billion in the period 2014 – 2020.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, co-chaired today’s meeting of the EU's Employment and Social Policy Council (EPSCO) in Luxembourg with Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD. The meeting was also attended by Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor and by EU Commission Vice-President and Commissioner responsible for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding.
Minister Richard Bruton said “I am delighted that we have reached this agreement on the European Globalisation Fund under the Irish Presidency.
Minister Bruton - "The Fund is a practical expression of support and solidarity with tens of thousands of workers in the EU who are made redundant as a result of the impacts of globalisation."
"With the agreement in due course of the Parliament, the EU can continue to assist workers to retrain and upskill and be well placed to reintegrate quickly into the labour force.”
“Given the long period of discussion and the range of views being expressed on elements of the proposal since late 2011, Ireland is pleased to have reached agreement at Council level during its Presidency. This follows concerted technical, diplomatic and political efforts by the Presidency to reach agreement on key aspects of the proposal. I wish to pay tribute in particular to Minister Ciaran Cannon for all his work on this issue. The dossier must now enter into its second stage and be negotiated as a co-decision instrument with the European Parliament under the incoming Lithuanian Presidency.”
EU Employment Ministers today also approved the European Council's draft recommendations to Member States on important reforms to their employment and social policies at the final meeting of the Employment and Social Policy Council of the Irish Presidency (EPSCO).
This approval is an important part of economic policy co-ordination required if the EU is to meet its ambitious targets for economic growth, according to Minister Bruton.
The EPSCO Council's approval of the employment and social policy aspects of the draft Council Recommendations on the National Reform Programme for 2013 will contribute to the presentation by the Irish Presidency of an integrated package of country specific recommendations (CSRs) to the European Council on 27-28 June.
The meeting also considered legislative proposals including the Posting of Workers Directive and the preparations for the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers meeting in July.
Commenting on the approval of the employment and social policy aspects of the draft Council Recommendations on the 2013 National Reform Programme, Minister Bruton said, "A broad level of mutual understanding now exists between the Member States and the Commission on what needs to be done in the coming 12 to 18 months. Member States are pushing forward with reforms in order to move out of the crisis and to tackle existing structural difficulties that have been exacerbated by the crisis. However, structural reforms and adjustments take time and it is clear that they need to be implemented with great care in order not to damage other goals and to maintain social acceptability."
He added, “We also received an update on the Posting of Workers Directive. Each year around one million workers are posted by their employer from their original county of employment to perform work temporarily in another Member State. We need to strike a balance between protecting workers rights and facilitating the provision of services across borders.”
Ministers also received an update on the preparations being made for the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers meeting in July 2013.
Notes for Editors
During the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU, Minister Bruton is responsible for chairing or co-chairing meetings of the Trade, Competitiveness and EPSCO (Employment and Social Policy) Councils.
The European Semester
The European Semester is the yearly cycle of economic policy co-ordination designed to assist Member States meet the growth targets set out in the EU's growth strategy Europe 2020. Each year the European Commission undertakes a detailed analysis of EU Member States' programmes of economic and structural reforms. The recommendations examined by the EPSCO Council cover a wide range of issues, including structural reforms in such areas of employment and social policy as wage setting mechanisms, pensions, social protection systems, employment protection legislation, labour market activation and especially youth unemployment.
The European Globalisation Fund
The EGF provides co-financing support for approved programmes of guidance, training, education and enterprise supports for workers made redundant as a result of the adverse impacts of globalisation. The Fund to date in Ireland has assisted over 9,300 redundant workers at Dell, Waterford Crystal, S. R. Technics and in the construction sector with an ongoing programme currently running in support of a cohort of almost 600 redundant Talk Talk workers in Waterford.
The current EGF Regulation legally comes to an end on 31 December 2013. In late 2011 the European Commission tabled a proposal for the Fund to operate in the next seven year period from 2014 – 2020. The proposal sought to include both farmers and self-employed persons in the Fund’s reach for the first time. Technical discussions have been ongoing at Council Working Group during the Polish, Danish and Cypriot Presidencies of the EU to finalise and agree all elements of the proposed new Regulation.