On Monday, the Minister for Business and Labour, Felip Puig participated in EU’s Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) where he highlighted the need to tackle the issue of poverty risk and the subsequent threat of marginalisation that comes with it. According to the Minister, the best way to address the problem is to "implement policies that empower individuals instead of unfeasible subsidies which do not contribute to the recovery".
During this first Council meeting of 2015, the ministers discussed issues regarding Employment and Social Affairs as part of the current European Semester. The outcome of the meeting will form base for the coming debates to take place in the European Council on the 19th and 20th of this month. Indeed, the Council has already adopted conclusions from the joint Employment Report, a report analysing the EU’s social situation as well as the progress of social protection policies among the Member States.
After the meeting, Felip Puig presented the Common Statement on Occupational Health & Safety within EU Strategic Framework for 2014-2020. Minister Puig underlined the difficulties SMEs face with the implementation of legal requirements due to the lack of funding, technical and human resources. Similarly, the Minister also highlighted the importance of preventing new and emerging risks, including psychosocial risks. Furthermore, Puig addressed the issue of the ageing population within the EU and their corresponding working conditions as an important factor to these individuals’ health. Finally, Minister Puig stressed that the reasonable reduction of unnecessary bureaucracy in areas of occupational health and safety should never put at risk the health of individual workers.
Other participants taking part in the Council included EU Commissioner and Vice-President responsible for Employment, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen and the Commissioner responsible for the Euro and Social Dialogue, Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis.