Officials preparing EU labour policy to meet in Helsinki on 17 September
The Employment Committee of the Council of the European Union has an important role as it preparers the meetings of EU employment ministers. As proposed by Finland’s Presidency of the Council, the committee will discuss the employment opportunities of those who are disadvantaged in the labour market.
The Employment Committee (EMCO) consists of labour policy experts from each EU Member State and from the European Commission.
The main topic of the Employment Committee’s meeting in Helsinki is how to increase non-discrimination in the labour market and improve the employment opportunities of disadvantaged groups. It is an important topic for Finland.
- Many Member States have both labour shortage and groups who struggle to find work despite willingness and ability to work, says Senior Specialist and member of the Employment Committee Tallamaria Maunu from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.
- Promoting the employment of those who are disadvantaged in the labour market also supports the sustainable growth approach, advocated by the Finnish Presidency, Maunu says.
The discussions in the Employment Committee will serve as a basis for Council conclusions, which Finland is preparing on the topic for presentation at the December meeting of EU employment ministers. Council conclusions are tools for political guidance that are softer than legislation. Traditionally, each presidency of the Council prepares conclusions on topics it finds important and presents them at ministerial meetings.
EU’s role in employment and social policy is limited
Council conclusions is a typical way of exerting influence on EU labour policy. As labour policy and social policy are within the competence of the Member States, EU legislation in the field is restricted to minimum standards and minimum rights.
- In labour policy, the EU’s role is to benchmark, disseminate best practices, set common goals and monitor progress, Maunu says.
It is precisely this work that the Employment Committee will take forward at its Helsinki meeting. A new European Semester will start in November. It is roughly a year-long cycle of economic and fiscal policy coordination, during which Member States align their national policies, labour policy included, with the objectives and rules agreed at the EU level.
Tallamaria Maunu, Senior Specialist, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 295 047 193