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Press Release - EPSCO Ministers reach general approach on the exposure of workers to the risks arising from the electromagnetic fields
04.10.2012, 14:41 (CET)
The European Union’s Employment and Social Policy Ministers today, October 4, reached a general approach on the proposal of the EU Electromagnetic Field Directive on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields, in their Council meeting in Brussels. The agreement is the result of lengthy negotiations within the Council itself . The Ministers also agreed on the position to be taken by the EU on provisions for the coordination of social security systems provided for by four Association Agreements between the EU and Albania, Montenegro, San Marino and Turkey on social security systems.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council also adopted Conclusions on actions to be taken in favour of a job-rich recovery and providing better chances for Europe’s youth, as well as for tackling child poverty and promoting children well-being. Furthermore, the ministers evaluated the procedure of the second European Semester, looking at ways to improve the procedure, as well EPSCO’s role in the process.

A result of intensive work

“Today I am happy to say that thanks to the intensive work that has gone in the last years into the proposal of the EU Electromagnetic Field Directive on the minimum health and safety requirements regarding the exposure of workers to the risks arising from electromagnetic fields, I can report that the an agreement on the general approach was reached. I would like to thank the Polish and the Danish Presidencies for their contribution to the discussions and the significant progress achieved”, said the Minister of Labor and Social Insurance of the Republic of Cyprus, Ms Sotiroula Charalambous in the EPSCO meeting this morning.

The majority of the Member States expressed their support to the text prepared by the Cyprus Presidency. The initial Directive (Directive 2004/20/EP) was never put into force, due to problems acknowledged after its approval. The new proposal of the Directive was adopted by the Commission in June 2011 and had been under discussion since.

Evaluating the second European Semester

EPSCO Ministers also held a policy debate on ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy and the new European Governance. In particular, they evaluated the procedure of the second European Semester, discussed ways of improving the procedure as well as the role of EPSCO in the process. The aim was to draw lessons from this year’s European Semester and provide guidance for the 2013 monitoring process, with a view to further improving and streamlining the EU governance cycle. The ministers also highlighted the need for better cooperation between the various formations of the Council, on issues of common responsibility, in order to enhance the role of the EPSCO. This will allow EPSCO to contribute equally to the examination of each country’s recommendations in the semester process.

EPSCO Ministers further endorsed contributions by the Employment Committee (EMCO) and the Social Protection Committee (SPC) on European Semester. SPC highlights in its contribution the importance of improved coordination of social policies at the EU level to achieve the comprehensive coordination of all public policies which are mobilised to reach the ‘Europe 2020’ targets. EMCO pointed in particular to the need to clarify the competences of the different bodies taking part in the European Semester cycle, to plan timing of work more carefully and to improve cooperation between all parties involved.

Ministers also took note of EMCO’s ongoing work on the principles of well – functioning labour markets and endorsed the main features of the social protection performance monitor – an instrument developed by SPC and Commission to strengthen the monitoring of the social situation and the development of social protection policies in the EU.

A political agreement on the position to be taken by the EU on provisions for the coordination of social security systems provided for by four Association Agreements between the EU and Albania, Montenegro, San Marino and Turkey on social security systems was also achieved.

Council Conclusions in favour of a job-rich economic recovery and better chances for Europe's youth

An important subject for the Cyprus Presidency is related to job-creation, in particular for young people. EPSCO Ministers adopted Council Conclusions for actions in favour of a job-rich economy recovery and better chances for Europe’s youth.  The Conclusions are aimed at strengthening coordination and consistency of employment policy measures at national and EU levels. The Conclusions are a response by the Council to the Employment Package presented by the Commission in April containing a set of measures to boost jobs and allow a job-rich recovery.

EPSCO Ministers also adopted Council Conclusions for actions in order to prevent and tackle child poverty and social exclusion and promote child well-being. The fight against child poverty and the promotion of child well-being are among the priorities of the Cyprus Presidency. This is also among the priorities included in the framework of the social dimension of the ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy.

Moreover, the European Commissioner Responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, László Andor, informed the Ministers of the outcomes of the conference on employment policy, under the title "Jobs for Europe", that took place on September 6-7 in Brussels.

The Council also made note of the works on the negotiations on the European Social Fund Regulation.

Finally, the Council took note of the preparations for the Tripartite Social Summit to be held just before the European Council meeting on 18 October.

Discussion on workers' mobility

Additionally, during lunch, the Ministers had the opportunity to exchange views as to the way of improving worker mobility within the EU. Worker mobility is essential for an effective internal market and a competitive European economy. There was a consensus among ministers that worker mobility must be improved and that the parameters involved, such as the quality and conditions of work in Member States as well as the effects on welfare systems, need to be subjected to an all-round approach.

Presidency Spokesperson in Brussels
Marianna Karageorgis

Coreper I

Email: mkarageorgis@pio.moi.gov.cy
Telephone: +32 27404002
Mobile: +32 473858237
Officer
Michaela Papadopoulou

Ministry of Labour & Social Insurance
European Affairs Unit
Email: mpapadopoulou@mlsi.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22401865
Communications Officer
Maria Lantidou

Ministry of Labour & Social Insurance

Email: mlantidou@pio.moi.gov.cy
Telephone: +357 22401676

Watch the press conference here

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