European Social Policy

Articles from January 13

Air Transport : Flight Time Divides Airlines and Unions
Airlines and pilot unions are waging a war over limits on pilots' flight time. The safety argument is at the centre of the controversy and, so far, the airlines have an advantage. The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) approved, on 20 December...
Anti-Poverty Platform : Commission Introduces Concept of Social Innovation'
The European Commission's Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion' initiative, published on 16 December 2010, does not offer miracle solutions to assist the 81 million Europeans threatened by poverty. On the contrary, it reaffirms old-fashioned...
Cross-Border Health Care : Three-Way Meeting Reaches Compromise
During a three-way meeting organised within the framework of its second reading, on 15 December 2010, the Belgian EU Presidency, the European Parliament's rappoteur and the Commission achieved a compromise on the directive on cross-border health care,...
Epsco Council : Conclusions on Ssgi: "First Step in Right Direction"
At the close of the Employment and Social Policy Council, on 6 December 2010, the Belgian Presidency welcomed the adoption of conclusions on social services of general interest (SSGIs) - even if they did not prove to be very ambitious in the end -...
Epsco Council : Employment: Andor Urges Member States to Set Their Sights High
At the Employment and Social Affairs Council, on 6 December 2010, Commissioner Laszlo Andor urged member states to be more ambitious in their national reform programmes (NRPs). "As highlighted by the Employment Committee (EMCO), we must do more to...
Epsco Council : Maternity Leave: Ministers Reject Parliament's Position
From now on, future discussions within the Council on maternity leave will be based on the European Commission's position and not on that of the Parliament, which has been deemed to be backward-looking and unachievable by a number of member states....
Epsco Council : Pensions: Presidency Scraps Idea of Well-Being Threshold'
Despite the efforts of the Belgian EU Presidency, member states strongly opposed the introduction of the notion of a threshold of well-being' at EU level. In fact, a large majority of the 27 ministers responded negatively to the proposal of Belgian...
Foodstuffs : Dioxin: Commission Regrets Lack of Industry Proposals
Discussions undertaken with the industry aimed at strengthening the security of the production chain have not been very fruitful to date, according to information released by the European Commission, on 11 January. The day after a second meeting with...
Health : Maternity Leave: Council Strongly Opposed to 20 Weeks
The progress report by the Belgian EU Presidency, dated 26 November 2010 and detailing the Council's position on the draft directive on improving the occupational health and safety of workers who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding,...
Health : Medicines Agency Widens Access to Documents
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) had adopted a policy of making documents in its possession more accessible, it announced on 1 December 2010. The policy statement details the principles and terms for access to documents related to medicines for...
Health : Meps Propose European Year of the Brain
Members of the European Parliament welcomed the Commission's communication on an EU initiative on Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia and suggest a number of measures to boost the Union's action against these neurodegenerative diseases....
Immigration : Ep Rejects Single Permit for Immigrant Workers
After a left-right confrontation, a majority of MEPs rejected a draft directive that would have created a single work and residence permit for long-term (over three months) immigrant workers in the European Union, on 14 December 2010 in Strasbourg....
Integration : Roma, "Victims of Poorly Spent Eu Funds"
Following France's controversial repression of Roma of Romanian and Bulgarian origin, a European Commission expert group (or task force') has formally announced something that is already widely known - EU Structural Funds are not being correctly spent...
Justice : Ministers Approve New Rules on Cross-Border Divorce
Following fours years of debate, the EU's justice ministers have finally managed to find a solution to facilitate divorce between married couples of different nationalities. On 3 December 2010 in Brussels, 14 member states(1) agreed to initiate the...
Labour Market : Inactivity Rate Falls for Women, Rises for Men
In spite of the economic crisis, the labour market participation of women in the EU27 continued to increase between 2008 and 2009, as the inactivity rate(1) of women aged 15-64 further declined from 36.1% to 35.7%. For the participation of men, however,...
Living Conditions : Almost a Quarter of Europeans Affected by Social Exclusion
In 2008, 116 million people - ie almost a quarter of the population - in the EU27 were affected by at least one of three forms of social exclusion: income poverty, severe material deprivation and very low work intensity. This is highlighted in a report...
Pharmaceuticals : Pharmacovigilance: Council Gives Green Light to Black Triangle'
The first debate concerning the pharmaceutical package, dedicated to strengthening pharmacovigilance for drugs authorised for human use, has been officially closed. On 29 November 2010, agriculture ministers adopted, without debate, the European Parliament's...
Rights of Persons with Disabilities : Eu Ratifies Un Convention
On 23 December 2010, the European Union ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, thus becoming the first international organisation to do so. This is "good news for the New Year and a milestone in the history...
Social Policy : 2011 to Be European Year of Volunteering
The European Commission is set to designate 2011 as the European Year of Volunteering following the current year on the fight against poverty. An unpaid activity, volunteering is not highly valued in Europe, whereas it is almost an essential on a US...
Social Policy : Council Pledges to "Prevent and Reduce" Poverty
At the closing conference of the European Year 2010 for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion, held on 17 December 2010, the member states officially pledged "to prevent and to reduce poverty and social exclusion". This highly symbolic official declaration...
Social Policy Focus on Implementing 2020 Strategy
Hungary will concentrate on consolidating the economic recovery more via an economic than social approach. According to its work programme, published on 10 November 2010, Budapest will look to reinforce economic governance, while continuing the efforts...
Social Policy : Room for Improvement in Evaluation of Social Impact of Crisis
Two years on from the start of the economic and financial crisis, there has been no overall assessment of its social consequences, note the Social Protection Committee (SPC) and the European Commission in a document published on 26 November 2010(1)....
Trade Mark Law : Cigarettes: Plain Packaging' Conundrum
The European Commission is considering obliging the tobacco industry to sell cigarettes in identical packages devoid of graphics, logo or other distinctive signs apart from the name of the brand written in small characters and a standard style. ...
Unemployment : Eu Jobless Rate Unchanged in October
The eurozone seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.1% in October 2010, compared with 10.0% in September (9.9% in October 2009). The EU27 unemployment rate was 9.6% in October 2010, unchanged compared with September (9.4% in October 2009), indicated...
Working Time Directive : Executive Proposes Either Targeted or Broad Revision
The future revision of the Working Time Directive will take one of two forms: either a partial revision of the questions of on-call time and compensatory rest periods, or a broader revision in the light of labour market changes in recent years. These...