EU ministers to seek agreement on platform work and discuss the pharmaceutical ecosystem
The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) will meet in Luxembourg on 12–13 June 2023. The topics of the meeting include platform work, health and safety at work, labour market dialogue, gender equality, strengthening the pharmaceutical ecosystem, combating antimicrobial resistance, mental health at workplaces, and loneliness.
Tuula Haatainen, Minister of Employment of the caretaker government, will represent Finland at the Employment and Social Policy Council meeting on 12 June. Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services of the caretaker government Krista Kiuru will represent Finland at the Health Council meeting on 13 June.
Aiming to establish EU rules for platform work
In December 2021, the European Commission issued a proposal for a directive to improve the status and working conditions of platform workers. Platform work refers to work that companies provide to workers or self-employed persons via digital platforms.
The aim is for the Council to establish its general approach, i.e. a political agreement, on the proposal for a directive in its meeting. However, there is no certainty that an agreement will be reached. Finland may accept a suggestion for a compromise by the presidency of the Council.
“Finland considers it important to find EU-level solutions to clarify the status of platform workers. We hope that a general approach will be established at this meeting. It is time to move ahead on this issue,” says Minister of Employment Haatainen.
After a general approach has been established, the Council, the Parliament and the Commission will together discuss the directive. The need to update Finnish legislation will be assessed when the directive has been approved.
Finland promotes the discussion of mental health in the EU
The Council will aim to establish a general approach on directives laying down standards for equality bodies. The proposals for directives aim to strengthen the status and independence of equality bodies in EU countries. The goal is to provide better protection for victims of discrimination and promote the prevention of discrimination.
A general approach will also be sought on directives laying down limit values for the maximum concentration of lead in the air, blood lead levels, and diisocyanates. Finland is in favour of adopting the proposals.
The Council will adopt a recommendation on promoting labour market dialogue at the national level. The Council will also discuss the European Semester and adopt country-specific recommendations for 2023.
The Council will adopt conclusions on the mainstreaming of the gender equality perspective in decision-making. In particular, the conclusions will underscore the importance of incorporating the gender perspective into budgeting and decision-making, even in times of crisis.
Over lunch, the ministers will discuss mental health at workplaces and related challenges.
“Finland is very satisfied with the Commission’s newly issued Communication on the EU’s comprehensive approach to mental health. For a long time now, we have sought to promote the discussion of mental health in the EU. The rapidly changing working life, uncertain forms of work and new skill requirements have increased the mental health challenges of employees,” says Minister Haatainen.
Discussions on strengthening the European pharmaceutical ecosystem
Health ministers will discuss the strengthening of the European pharmaceutical ecosystem. The topic is also addressed in the proposal issued by the Commission in April on the reform of pharmaceutical legislation. The aim is to improve the availability of medicines and enhance European competitiveness. This will simultaneously strengthen the EU’s and its Member States’ resilience to crises.
The health ministers will adopt a Council recommendation on combating antimicrobial resistance in accordance with an approach that takes into account human, animal and environmental health. The ministers will also seek to establish a general approach on the regulation of fees and charges payable to the European Medicines Agency.
In addition, the ministers will receive an update on the negotiations concerning the European regulation on health data and the proposal for regulation on standards of quality and safety for substances of human origin intended for human application.
Over lunch, the health ministers will discuss the topic of loneliness.
“It is positive that the topic of combating loneliness is discussed at the EU level. Finland’s efforts in this area are particularly focused on loneliness experienced by young people and the elderly,” minister Krista Kiuru says.
Piritta Jokelainen, Special Adviser to Minister of Employment, tel. +358 29 504 7353 (questions for the Minister of Employment)
Petteri Nurmi, Special Adviser to the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services, tel. +358 29 516 3603 (questions for the Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services)
Liisa Heinonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4131
Johanna Ylitepsa, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 29 506 4207 (platform work)
Outi Kuivasniemi, Director for International Affairs, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3117
Kaisa Lähdepuro, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3419
Satu Leino, Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 29 516 3498
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