Social Council : In Chantilly, Ministers Debate a More "Practical" Europe

Article excerpt

The EU's employment and social affairs ministers met informally at Montvillargenne Castle in Chantilly (north of Paris), on 10 and 11 July, with French Minister Xavier Bertrand chairing.

The trio of Presidencies (France, the Czech Republic and Sweden) first met with the European social partners and then with representatives of the Platform of Social NGOs. The ministers found on their table the questions submitted by visitors to the Europe in practice' site (www.forums.gouv.fr), and a report by the Brunhes consulting firm on The social agenda for a competitive and inclusive Europe'.

The Council continued, on 11 July, with a working breakfast (in camera) between the ministers and Commissioner Vladimir Spidla to discuss "an idea for making a reality of social Europe," which was followed by four plenary meetings. The first focused on actions by the EU institutions (Commission, Parliament, Economic and Social Committee, Social Protection Committee and Employment Committee). The other three concerned globalisation and climate change, demographics and diversity. Each was led by a member of the current trio of Presidencies, to which a member of the following trio responded (Belgium, Spain and Hungary).

PRESIDENCY'S QUESTIONS

Globalisation and climate change are "two challenges" that have major social consequences, noted the Presidency. …