Eurofound, the Irish Presidency and the European Year 2013
Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union begins on January 1st 2013 and runs for the first half of the year. The core aim of the Irish Presidency, across all Council formations, will be to seek ways of supporting sustainable jobs and growth in Europe and of restoring economic stability and social cohesion.
The Irish Presidency will place emphasis on youth employment, in view of the rising unemployment rates in the Union. Following the publication in December of the Youth Employment Package by the European Commission, the Presidency will work to reach agreement on a Youth Guarantee which will aim to ensure that all young people up to age 25 receive a quality offer of a job, continued education, an apprenticeship or a traineeship within four months of leaving formal education or becoming unemployed.
During the European Year of Citizens in 2013, the Presidency also plans to make progress on a range of initiatives aimed to promote free movement across the EU and to protect workers’ rights.
It will also seek to support the future development of the backbone of the EU - the SME sector - by making it easier to do business across the EU and reducing bureaucracy and administration. It will also try to enhance new business and job creation across the EU through the Entrepreneurship Action Plan.
Eurofound will work with the Irish government to bring new research findings, data and recommendations to European policy makers.
Common priorities include:
- youth and employment - with recent work on young people not in employment, education or training (NEETS)
- job creation - through the daily updating of its restructuring events database and the European Jobs Monitor
- restructuring in SMEs - with an overview report, 27 national reports, a comparative analytical report and a database of 85 company case studies
- social cohesion - with timely publications on active inclusion for young people with disabilities or health problems
During the six-month period, Eurofound will contribute to various debates - including its Foundation Forum - and will open its conference centre to a series of Presidency meetings.
In the first quarter, Eurofound liaised with the Presidency on the meetings of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) on 7–8 February, the Commission’s Social Protection Committee (SPC) on 7–8 March and Employment Committee (EMCO) on 11–12 March. Eurofound also took part in the Presidency conference on vulnerable families on 4-5 February and the conference on the EU Committee of the Regions on 28 Febraury-1 March.
On 29-30 April, Eurofound’s work on working conditions and gender, notably its fifth European Working Conditions Survey, was relevant to the debate at two Presidency events: on occupational safety and health and on gender equality and Europe 2020.
Eurofound participated at the Presidency conference on the Social Investment Package on 2-3 May.
Other events in May and June include a European Social Fund event to be held at Eurofound’s premises (22–23 May) and a meeting of the heads of EU Public Employment Services (20–21 June).