Topics of the EU ministerial meeting: economy of wellbeing and impact of climate action on employment

Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health 5.7.2019 9.06 | Published in English on 5.7.2019 at 11.01
Press release 75

Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, and Timo Harakka, Minister of Employment, will take part in the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) meeting in Brussels on 8 July. Finland will be chairing the meeting.

The European Union ministers for employment and social affairs will discuss the economy of wellbeing. This is the main theme in the health and social sector during Finland's Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The wellbeing economy refers to the two-way relationship between wellbeing and the economy. 

Finland’s aim is to bring a broader understanding into EU decision-making that wellbeing policy and economic policy should go hand in hand.

– While the wellbeing of people has intrinsic value as such, we need to better recognise that it also is a precondition for economic growth and for social and economic stability. Conversely, sustainable economic growth brings better opportunities for improving everyone’s wellbeing, says Minister Aino-Kaisa Pekonen.

An introduction to the topic will be given by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurria. Gurria will present the main results of a background report drawn up by the OECD and commissioned by Finland. The report summarises the key results of international research on the wellbeing economy.

Based on the discussions, a draft will be drawn up for Council conclusions. Finland aims to have the Council conclusions endorsed by the meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council on 24 October 2019.  The conclusions would include recommendations for measures to the member states and the Commission. 

Transition to a climate-neutral economy requires fair labour policy 

The ministers will also discuss the employment dimension related to the EU’s long-term climate strategy. Climate objectives and measures influence employment significantly but they affect different sectors in different ways.

The discussion aims at identifying such means of labour and social policy that could best support the transition towards a climate-neutral economy. The meeting will also take stock of the most urgent action to ease any negative repercussions of the transition.

Timo Harakka emphasises the importance of this theme.

– Finland and the EU have common objectives for generating sustainable growth. We all know that our economies must become as decarbonised as possible. The essential point is to make sure that the transition is carried out inclusively in a way that is just and fair, the Minister of Employment underlines.

Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the EU started on 1 July and will continue until the end of this year.

Inquiries:

Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63425
Liisa Heinonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, tel.  +358 50 396 0605

Economy of wellbeing in the EU: People’s wellbeing fosters economic growth
Items on the agenda of the EPSCO Council 8 July
Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)