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6-7XII2010 COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION EN 17323110 REV 1

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6-7XII2010 COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION EN 17323110 REV 1

    COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN UNION

    17323/1/10 REV 1

    PRESSE 331

    PR CO 43

    PRESS RELEASE

    3053rd Council meeting

    Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

    Brussels, 6 and 7 December 2010

    President Ms Joëlle MILQUET

    Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and

    Equal Opportunities,

    Ms Laurette ONKELINX, Deputy Prime Minister and

    Minister for Social Affairs and Public Health, and

    Mr Michel DAERDEN, Minister for Pensions.

    PRESS

    Rue de la Loi 175 B 1048 BRUSSELS Tel.: +32 (0)2 281 5394 / 6319 Fax: +32 (0)2 281 8026

    press.office@consilium.europa.eu http://www.consilium.europa.eu/Newsroom

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     6-7.XII.2010

    Main results of the Council

    Employment and Social Policy

    The Council discussed the draft directive on maternity leave for the first time since the European Parliament adopted its first-reading position and took note of a presidency progress report on the directive on equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. Ministers adopted two sets of conclusions concerning gender, one on the

    implementation of the strategy on equality between women and men, and one on the fight

    against the gender pay gap. Ministers exchanged views on employment policies in the Europe 2020 strategy and the European Semester, and adopted two opinions paving the way for the new governance structure under the European Semester.

    During lunch, ministers discussed the social dimension in the national reform programmes in the context of the Europe 2020 strategy.

    Furthermore, the Council adopted a general approach on a draft decision declaring 2012 as the year of active ageing. Ministers adopted conclusions on the social dimension in the framework of the

    Europe 2020 strategy. They held a policy debate on the future of pensions systems and adopted

    conclusions on adequate and sustainable pensions. Ministers adopted a declaration on the fight

    against poverty and social exclusion to mark the closing of the 2010 European Year against poverty and social exclusion. Finally, the Council adopted conclusions on social services of general interest.

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    Health and Consumer Affairs

    Ministers reached political agreement on the draft regulation on food information to consumers.

    They exchanged views on the follow-up to the lessons learnt from the A/H1N1 pandemic, and in

    particular on the joint procurement of vaccines and antiviral products.

    During lunch, ministers exchanged views on the joint Economic Policy Committee - European

    Commission report on health care systems in Europe.

    Furthermore, the Council adopted three sets of conclusions on:

    ; investing in Europe's health work force for tomorrow: scope for innovation and collaboration;

    ; innovation and solidarity in pharmaceuticals;

    ; innovative approaches for chronic diseases.

    As "A"-items, ministers decided without discussion:

    ; not to accept the European Parliament's second-reading amendments to the draft regulation on novel foods, meaning that a conciliation procedure will now be launched;

    ; to mobilise a total amount of EUR 6.17 million under the European Globalisation Adjustment

    Fund (EGF), providing support for workers made redundant in Poland and Spain.

    ; to adopt a regulation allowing for the financing of investment projects in the area of energy

    efficiency and energy from renewable sources, by local, regional and national public

    authorities, in particular in urban settings.

    With the exception of the lunch discussions and the "other business" points the whole two-day-

    meeting will be public can be followed, together with the press conferences, by video streaming at http://www.consilium.europa.eu/videostreaming.

1;; Where declarations, conclusions or resolutions have been formally adopted by the Council, this is indicated

    in the heading for the item concerned and the text is placed between quotation marks.

    ;; Documents for which references are given in the text are available on the Council's Internet site

    (http://www.consilium.europa.eu).

    ;; Acts adopted with statements for the Council minutes which may be released to the public are indicated by

    an asterisk; these statements are available on the Council's Internet site or may be obtained from the Press

    Office.

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    1 CONTENTS

    PARTICIPANTS........................................................................................................................... 6 ITEMS DEBATED

    Directive on maternity leave ........................................................................................................... 9 Directive on the principle of equal treatment ................................................................................. 11 Gender equality ............................................................................................................................. 12 Employment policies in the Europe 2020 strategy and the European Semester .............................. 13

    Social dimension of the Europe 2020 Strategy .............................................................................. 15

    Year of active ageing .................................................................................................................... 16 Social protection and social inclusion ............................................................................................ 16 The future of the pensions systems ................................................................................................ 17 Fight against poverty and social exclusion..................................................................................... 18 Social services of general interest .................................................................................................. 18 Food information to consumers ..................................................................................................... 19 Pandemic A/H1N1 ........................................................................................................................ 20 Health care systems in Europe ....................................................................................................... 21 Europe's health work force for tomorrow ...................................................................................... 22 Innovation and solidarity in pharmaceuticals ................................................................................. 22 Chronic diseases ........................................................................................................................... 23 Any other business ........................................................................................................................ 24 OTHER ITEMS APPROVED

    EMPLOYMENT

     Mobilisation of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund for Poland and Spain ......................................... 27

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    SOCIAL POLICY

    Coordination of social security schemes - EU and Switzerland ......................................................................... 27

    AGRICULTURE

     Novel foods ..................................................................................................................................................... 28 EXTERNAL RELATIONS

     EU-Switzerland agreement on government procurement .................................................................................. 28 EU/Canada framework agreement .................................................................................................................... 28 FISHERIES

     Partnership agreement - EU and Solomon Islands ............................................................................................ 29 Alignment with Lisbon Treaty - Technical measures in Baltic Sea .................................................................... 29 ENERGY

     Ecodesign requirements for fans ...................................................................................................................... 30 European Energy Programme for Recovery...................................................................................................... 30 INTERNAL MARKET

     Textile labelling .............................................................................................................................................. 31

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    PARTICIPANTS

    Belgium:

    Ms Joëlle MILQUET Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Employment and

    Equal Opportunities, responsible for Policy on Migration

    and Asylum

    Ms Laurette ONKELINX Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Social Affairs and

    Public Health

    Mr Michel DAERDEN Minister for Pensions and the Cities

    Mr Philippe COURARD State Secretary

    Mr Jean-Marc DELIZĖE State Secretary for Social Affairs

    Ms Fadila LAANAN Minister for Culture, the Audiovisual Sector, Health and

    Equal Opportunities

    Bulgaria:

    Mr Totyu MLADENOV Minister for Labour and Social Policy

    Mr Stefan KOSTANTINOV Minister for Health

    Czech Republic:

    Mr Jaromir DRÁBEK Minister for Labour and Social Affairs Mr Leoš HEGER Minister of Health

    Denmark:

    Ms Inger STØJBERG Minister for Employment

    Ms Benedikte KIJÆR Minister for Social Affairs

    Mr Bertel HAARDER Minister for the Interior and Health

    Mr Henrik HØEGH Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries Germany:

    Mr Andreas STORM Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for

    Education and Research

    Mr Daniel BAHR Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for

    Health

    Ms Kristina SCHRÖDER Minister for Family Affairs

    Ms Ilse AIGNER Minister for Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection Estonia:

    Mr Hanno PEVKUR Minister for Social Affairs

    Ireland:

    Ms Geraldine BYRNE NASON Deputy Permanent Representative Greece:

    Ms Loukia KATSELI Minister for Economic Affairs

    Mr Andreas LOVERDOS Minister for Employment and Social Protection Spain:

    Mr Valeriano GÓMEZ SÁNCHEZ Minister for Labour and Inmigration of Spain Ms María Luz RODRÍGUEZ FERNÁNDEZ State Secretary of Employment Ms Isabel MARTÍNEZ LOZANO Secretary General for Social Policy Mr Roberto SABRIDO BERMÚDEZ President of Spanish Agency for Food Security and

    Nutrition

    Ms Sagrario LOZA Minister for Social Affairs of the Autonomous

    Community of La Rioja

    Mr Vincenç TOMAS Minister for Health and Consumer Affairs of the

    Autonomous Community of Balearic Islands France:

    Ms Roselyne BACHELOT-NARQUIN Minister for Solidarity and Social Cohesion Mr Philippe LEGLISE-COSTA Deputy Permanent Representative Italy:

    Mr Ferruccio FAZIO Minister for Health

    Mr Vincenzo GRASSI Deputy Permanent Representative

    Cyprus:

    Ms Sotiroula CHARALAMBOUS Minister for Labour and Social Insurance Mr George ZODIATES Deputy Permanent Representative

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    Latvia:

    Mr Juris BĀRZDIŅŠ Minister for Health

    Ms Lelde LICE-LICITE Deputy Permanent Representative Lithuania:

    Ms Janina KUMPIENE Deputy Minister for Health Ms Audrone MORKŪNIENĖ Deputy Minister for Social Security and Labour

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    Luxembourg:

    Mr Nicolas SCHMIT Minister with responsibility for Foreign Affairs and

    Immigration

    Mr Mars DI BARTOLOMEO Minister for Health and Social Security Hungary:

    Mr Miklòs RÉTHELYI Minister for Natural Resources

    Malta:

    Ms Dolores CRISTINA Minister for Education, Employment and the Family Mr Joe CASSAR Minister for Health, the Elderly and Community Care Netherlands:

    Mr Henk KAMP Minister for Social Affairs and Employment Mr. Derk OLDENBURG Deputy Permanent Representative

    Austria:

    M. Rudolf HUNDSTORFER Federal Minister for Labour, Social Affairs

    and Consumer Protection M. Alois STÖGER Federal Minister for Health

    Mr Harald GÜNTHER Deputy Permanent Representative

    Poland:

    Ms Ewa KOPACZ Minister for Health

    Mr Radoslaw MLECZKO Deputy State Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Social

    Policy

    Portugal:

    Ms Helena ANDRÉ Minister for Labour and Social Solidarity Romania:

    Mr Valentin MOCANU State Secretary

    Mr Adrian STREINU CERCEL Secretary of State, Ministry of Health Slovenia:

    Ms Dorijan MARUŜIČ Minister for Health

    Ms Anja KOPAČ MRAK State Secretary, Ministry of Labour, the Family and Social

    Affairs

    Slovakia:

    Mr Jozef MIHAL Minister for Labour, Social Affairs and the Family Mr Jan PORUBSKY State Secretary at the Ministry of Health Finland:

    Ms Paula RISIKKO Minister for Health and Social Services Ms Katariina POSKIPARTA State Secretary, Ministry of Employment and the

    Economy

    Ms Eeva KUUSKOSKI State Secretary, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health Sweden:

    Ms Hillevi ENGSTRÖM Minister for Employment

    Mr Ulf KRISTERSSON Minister for Social Security

    Mr Göran HÄGGLUND Minister for Health and Social Affairs Mr Jan Roland OLSSON Deputy Permanent Representative United Kingdom:

    Mr Chris GRAYLING Minister for Employment

    Ms Anne MILTON Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health) Commission:

    Ms Viviane REDING Vice President

    Mr László ANDOR Member

    Mr John DALLI Member

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    ITEMS DEBATED

    Directive on maternity leave

    On the basis of a presidency progress report (16509/10 + 16509/10 COR 1) and a questionnaire

    (16510/10) the Council held a policy debate on the draft directive aimed at improving the protection of pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding. A very large majority of ministers considered that the amendments adopted by the European Parliament at first reading, notably the requested extension of the minimum maternity leave to 20 weeks on full pay, did not constitute an appropriate basis for negotiations. They expressed concerns regarding the cost implications and emphasised that a directive should set minimum standards while respecting the principle of subsidiarity and the diversity of situations in the different member states. Many ministers were reluctant to include paternity leave within the scope of the draft directive on maternity leave, of which the main purpose was to improve the health and safety at work of pregnant women and workers who had recently given birth or were breastfeeding, and not to reconcile work, family and private life, which was covered by other EU rules. Some delegations, however, considered that the draft directive should also cover fathers.

    Many ministers were open to the idea of including a "passerelle" clause in the draft directive, allowing the member states to take into account forms of leave other than maternity leave offered to the mother which fulfilled certain conditions.

    Many ministers stressed the need to carefully reflect on the draft directive, and some of them called for a further impact assessment.

    The Belgian Presidency concluded that the Commission's original proposal aiming to extend the minimum length of maternity leave from 14 to 18 weeks could be a more acceptable basis for a compromise than the European Parliament's amendments. It also stressed the need to examine this issue carefully, including with the social partners, in order to achieve a balanced outcome. The Belgian Presidency announced that it would consider how best to continue dealing with the file over the coming weeks, in coordination with Hungary and Poland, the two forthcoming presidencies.

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