Eurofound and the Slovak EU Presidency 2016
The Programme of the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the European Union is based on four priorities:
- an economically strong Europe
- a modern single market
- sustainable migration and asylum policies, and
- a globally engaged Europe.
The Slovak Presidency begins at a time when the Union is facing unprecedented challenges: the result of the UK Referendum calls for discussion on the future of the Union, the continuing migration crisis raises questions concerning the integrity of the Schengen area, the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels have highlighted weaknesses in the area of internal security and the consequences of the economic and financial crisis are still affecting the economies of the EU Member States.
This work is being done within the framework of priorities agreed with the Council of the European Union by the three Presidencies for the period between January 2016 and June 2017 - the Netherlands, Slovakia and Malta. The 18-month programme of the Presidencies trio has the priorities growth, jobs, freedom, security, justice, energy union and a stronger EU in the world.
For the next six months, the Slovak Presidency aims to make significant progress on boosting entrepreneurship and job creation. This includes promoting a climate in which SMEs thrive to 'help open up the potential for the Union to generate further growth and create jobs'.
The trio programme also states: 'Unemployment is a major concern in most Member States. Proposals which help tackle unemployment and which open up opportunities for European citizens will be a key priority. Particular attention will be paid to initiatives in the area of youth, long-term and structural unemployment, as well as full access to the labour market.'
It continues: 'The three Presidencies are determined to work together on the forthcoming Labour Mobility Package removing the remaining obstacles to EU mobility with the aim of smoothing the effect of future economic shocks, supporting fair competition and fair labour standards and in so doing contribute to the shared objective of decent work.'
On issues relating to social and work-related policies, Eurofound is cooperating with the Slovak Presidency. Relevant priorities include:
- Job creation – through the daily updating of its restructuring events database, the recently published European Jobs Monitor 2016: What do Europeans do at work? A task-based analysis, and the Job creation in SMEs (ERM) research. See also our Spotlight on employment in Europe
- Working conditions and quality of work - with the launch in November 2016 of the 6th European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS) overview report (see the first findings of the survey). See also our Spotlight on sustainable work
- Youth and employment - with the newly published report Exploring the diversity of NEETS, and the recent Start-up support for young people in the EU: From implementation to evaluation. See also our Spotlight on youth
- Mobility and migration - with publications such as Social dimension of intra-EU mobility: Impact on public services, Foundation Focus - Workers in Europe: Mobility and migration, and Challenges of policy coordination for third-country nationals
- Social partners activities and social dialogue - with regular EurWORK articles and recently published reports on Regulation of labour market intermediaries and the role of social partners in preventing trafficking of labour and Collective bargaining in Europe in the 21st century.
new Eurofound contributed to the informal meeting of the Council of Ministers for Employment and Social Policy (EPSCO), held under the auspices of the Presidency on 14–15 July. This blog post is based on the address by Eurofound’s Director Juan Menéndez-Valdés to the gathering.
Eurofound will be contributing to other Presidency meetings and events over the next six months.