EPSCO policy debate on employment and social policy aspects of the 2016 EU Semester 16 June 2016

Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council Thursday 16 June in Luxembourg.


Video streaming of the EPSCO Council meeting – available here

The Council meeting was chaired by Mr Lodewijk Asscher, Netherlands’ vice Prime Minister and Minister for Social Affairs and Employment.  

For a list of participants from the 28 Member States and the European Commission: download here. 

The Council held a policy debate on the employment and social policy aspects of the 2016 European Semester exercise, adopting relevant documents and approving country specific recommendations.

The Council also adopted conclusions on social dialogue and on combating poverty and social exclusion.  Video streaming: available here.

The Council Conclusions “Combating poverty and social exclusion: an integrated approach” encourage Member States to exchange experiences and best practices with regard to integrated approaches to fighting poverty and social exclusion.  This addendum to the Council Conclusions contains examples of integrated approaches from different Member States.

Find the questions posed and outcomes of the meeting below together with links and more information.


Policy debate on employment and social policy aspects of the European Semester.

The policy debate was steered by the following presidency questions:

– Do you believe that the focus of the country specific recommendations, as regards the thematic they cover, is well balanced? Does the current economic, employment and social situation justify that skills, education and training is the area that deserves most attention?

– In conjunction with other initiatives, such as the recommendation on long-term unemployment, do ministers see scope to strengthen the Semester’s response to the poverty challenge?

– Notwithstanding the increased relevance of the Semester as a tool for coordinating the economic governance cycle, particularly notable is the relative absence of public recognition of the social component of the Semester. How can the social and employment component of the Semester process be better transmitted to the wider public?

Press Release and Background Document – Download here

Policy Debate – Presidency Steering Note – Download here 

Opinion assessment of the 2016 Country-specific Recommendations (CSRs) and the implementation of the 2015 CSRs from the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee – Download here

See extract below from the Social Protection Committee on assessing the implementation of the 2015 CSRs concerning reforms of long-term care systems:

Last year, two Member States received CSRs on long-term care issues, with an overall focus on improving cost-effectiveness and concerns on provision and access to adequate long-term care services. The measures adopted by these Member States aim at addressing the challenges through structural reforms such as a shift from institutional to community-based care, strengthened support to informal carers and improved policies for prevention, rehabilitation and independent living. However, more efforts are necessary to ensure the long-term care sustainability and to facilitate the access to adequate, affordable and quality long-term care. In order to achieve this, Member States should adopt a proactive policy approach, promoting independent living and preventing the loss of autonomy, reducing thus the need of long-term care services.

The Council endorsed the opinions of the Social Protection Committee and the Employment Committee – see below Outcomes.


Press Office – outcomes of the Council meetings 16th June 2016


More information:

Information on the Social Protection Committee.

Information on the Employment Committee.

European Semester Country Specific Recommendations 2015 and 2016.

Joint Statement: the Alliance for Investing in Children welcomes Council Conclusions acknowledging the need to address child poverty
The Alliance for Investing in Children urges EU institutions and Member States, to maintain child poverty and social exclusion high on their political agenda

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