Cooperation in the EU
Matters concerning working life are discussed at the meetings of the EPSCO Council, which brings together ministers responsible for employment, social affairs, health and consumer policy from all the European union (EU) Member States.
Preparation of matters concerning labour legislation and mobility of workforce in the EU for consideration by the ministers is the responsibility of the Working Party on Social Questions. Work is also carried out in committees, working groups, expert and other groups and networks.
Officials of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment take part in the meetings of the EU Employment Committee (EMCO), which monitors developments in employment and employment policy in the EU and its Member States and contributes to the development of the European employment strategy and the implementation of the European Semester.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is a member of the European network of Public Employment Services (PES), the aim of which is to achieve the employment objectives set out in the Europe 2020 strategy, especially by reforming services and by making cooperation more effective.
The ministry is a participant in EURES, the European job network promoting mobility of the workforce. The Ministry's role is to act as the EURES National Coordination Office in relation to the Commission, the European Labour Authority (ELA) and other Member States. One of the expert groups is GECES, which supports the European Commission in its work to promote social entrepreneurship. The ministry’s officials also take part in the meetings of EU’s directors-general responsible for employment relationship matters.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment will also participate in the work of the Management Board of Eurofound, the EU Agency for the improvement of living and working conditions. Eurofound provides information, advice and expertise on working conditions and sustainable work, industrial relations, labour market change and quality and life and public services, to support the EU Institutions and bodies, Member States and Social Partners in shaping and implementing social and employment policies, as well as promoting social dialogue on the basis of comparative information, research and analysis.
The aim of the European Labour Authority (ELA) is to support compliance and coordination between Member States in the enforcement of EU legal acts in the areas of labour mobility and social security coordination. ELA also provides access to information for individuals and employers in cross-border labour mobility situations.
In 2016, the Commission set up a European platform against undeclared work, given how challenging it is for the authorities of Member States to address undeclared work in cross-border situations. The work of the EU platform continues in the ELA after the transition period. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment established a national cooperation network comprising authorities to support the efforts of the EU platform. One of the key tasks of the network is to distribute information on the cooperation against undeclared work, monitoring methods, new phenomena and best practices to various operators as well as promote national strategies, actions and programs to combat undeclared work at the national and the international level.
The International Labour Organization (ILO)
The Ministry of Employment and the Economy has responsibility in Finland for national coordination of matters relating to the International Labour Organization (ILO). ILO is the oldest UN specialized agency. ILO develops international labour standards and promotes social justice.
OECD and the Council of Europe
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment cooperates with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and takes part in the work aimed at ensuring observance of the updated European Social Charter of the Council of Europe.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment takes part in Nordic cooperation concerning labour market, labour law and working environment policy issues in the Nordic Council of Ministers for Labour (MR-A) and the Nordic Committee of Senior Officials for Labour (ÄK-A) and its divisions. The ministry also take part in the Nordic co-operation on integration issues.
Extensive cooperation in immigration matters
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment is responsible for cooperation in integration matters at EU level. The Ministry is a member in the European Integration Network (EIN), which meets regularly under the lead of the European Commission. One of the network's tasks is to ensure that national and EU measures are mutually supportive. The Commission will support exchanges between Member States within the network through targeted learning activities, such as study visits, peer reviews, mutual assistance and peer learning workshops on specific aspects of integration.
The network also helps to support the dissemination of best practices and sharing of information between the Member States. The ministry also takes part in the work of IGC (Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees) and the integration working groups of UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency).
Liisa Heinonen, liisa.heinonen(at)gov.fi