Employment Council : Social Aspects of Country-Specific Recommendations Okayed

Article excerpt

The employment ministers gave the green light on the social aspects of the country-specific recommendations in advance of the June EU summit. Meeting in Luxembourg, on 20 June, they endorsed the recommendations on wage-setting mechanisms, the functioning of and access to the labour market, pension schemes and health care systems and on poverty and social inclusion. They endorsed roughly 100 recommendations made to 23 member states (Greece, Cyprus, Ireland and Portugal, all under financial support plans, are not included in the exercise since they are subject to closer monitoring).

REJECTED BY HUNGARY

The Commission presented the country-specific recommendations, on 29 May, with a view to meeting the five priorities of 2013: to pursue differentiated growth-promoting budgetary consolidation, to restore normal conditions for lending to the economy, to promote growth and competitiveness, to tackle unemployment and the social consequences of the crisis and to modernise public administrations.

The great majority of member states supported the recommendations. Hungary alone rejected the text, complaining about the recommendations targeting its judiciary, business taxation and economic conditions. Other countries expressed misgivings but not firm opposition. France, for example, voiced regrets about the recommendation on its labour market, "which addresses identically measures related to segmentation and measures related to employment activation". The Czech Republic also expressed certain criticisms.

IMPROVEMENTS OVER 2012

The employment ministers were unanimous in noting the improvements made to the 2013 European semester' exercise. For this, its third year of implementation, the Commission consulted the national delegations more closely with bilateral meetings. …