The Employment Committee (EMCO) is an advisory committee for Employment and Social Affairs Ministers in the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) – one of the 10 ‘configurations’ of the Council of the EU. The majority of EMCO’s work involves advising ministers on the main products resulting from the European Semester. EMCO was created by a Council Decision in 2000, on the basis of Article 150 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.
EMCO meets several times a year and its meetings sometimes include EU-level trade union and employer representatives. It also meets regularly with other related Council committees (for example, the committees for Economic Policy, Social Protection and Education). EMCO also participates at a technical level in the Macroeconomic Dialogue (Cologne process).
EMCO has two sub-groups: an ad hoc policy group, which helps EMCO to promote coordination between EU governments on employment and labour market policies; and an indicators group, which guides EMCO in the selection and development of indicators to monitor the European employment strategy.
EMCO’s main outputs in relation to the European Semester include the following: issuing an opinion on the Employment Guidelines; agreeing the annual Joint Employment Report; preparing draft EPSCO conclusions on the Annual Growth Survey; country-specific employment policy recommendations (CSRs) (based on a Commission proposal); EMCO monitoring and assessment work; and a horizontal opinion on National Reform Programmes.
Furthermore, since 2011, EMCO has pioneered work on strengthening multilateral surveillance, aimed at monitoring Member States’ progress in implementing reforms prompted by the CSRs and preparing the next year’s CSRs.
EMCO also produces opinions and contributions on subjects related to its mandate (requested by EU institutions or on its own initiative), takes part in consultations with European social partners on the Annual Growth Survey and the National Reform Programmes, and produces thematic reports and annual work programmes.