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Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSSCO) brings together all the ministers for employment, labour, social affairs (social protection, equal opportunities, etc.), consumer protection and health. It generally meets twice during each Presidency.

The EPSSCO Council works to safeguard jobs and create quality jobs, protect workers, promote equal opportunities, combat discrimination, ensure equality between men and women and a high level of social protection and to protect health and consumer interests.

To this end, the EPSSCO Council adopts social standards especially with regard to:

  • working conditions (health and safety of workers, social security, employee involvement in companies);
  • prevention of illnesses and the fight against epidemics;
  • protection of consumer rights.

It also adopts action programmes to raise community funding for policies in a number of areas such as equality between men and women, fighting social exclusion, public health etc.

Employment and social protection policies are the responsibility of Member States. In these areas, the European Union focuses on:

  • establishing objectives common to all Member States with a view to adopting employment guidelines and common measures concerning social protection (pensions, long-term health care and social inclusion) that the Member States are then charged with implementing;
  • analysing measures taken at national levels;
  • adopting recommendations addressed to Member States.

This work is prepared within the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee, where the Member States exchange information on their domestic policies, share the results of their experiences and draw lessons from best practices within the European Union.

In most cases, the EPSSCO Council acts by qualified majority and in co-decision with the European Parliament, with the exception of social security and combating discrimination, where the Council acts unanimously.


Documents "Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs"

  • Updated: 09.07.2008
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