The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) is one of the 10 so-called ‘configurations’ (sub-divisions) of the Council of the EU. EPSCO’s mission is to increase employment levels and improve living and working conditions in the EU as a whole, ensuring a high level of human health and consumer protection.
The EPSCO Council brings together ministers responsible for employment, social affairs, health and consumer policy from all EU Member States. European Commissioners also participate in meetings, according to their area of interest. There are usually four EPSCO meetings a year. Two of the meetings are generally devoted exclusively to employment and social policy topics. The Council also holds informal meetings, at which strategy and policy ideas are discussed and tested.
The discussions in the Council are based on the priorities of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, which is held by the governments of Member States on a six-month rotating basis.
The Council is responsible, in the fields of employment and social policy, for drawing up annual employment guidelines, which the Member States take into account in their national policies. It also adopts legislation, together with the European Parliament, aimed at improving working conditions, social inclusion and gender equality.