The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment co-ordinates Ireland’s participation in the employment, equality and social policy elements of the EU’s Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council.
The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) is one of the ten current EU Council of Ministers formations.
The EPSCO Council brings together Ministers with responsibility for employment, social affairs, health and consumer policy from all EU member states. Relevant European Commissioners also participate in meetings.
There are usually four EPSCO meetings a year in Brussels and Luxembourg along with two informal meetings in the country of the current EU Presidency.
Whilst this Department takes the lead role in this Council, given the cross-cutting issues involved, a number of other Departments also provide inputs to the Council. This Department co-ordinates, prepares and develops policy inputs for EPSCO on a range of issues including:
Social Summit: Non-paper by Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden
The Portuguese Presidency hosted a Special Social Summit on 7-8 May 2021 in Porto which led into an Informal European Council. The Summit discussed how to give the highest political impetus to the European Pillar of Social Rights and its implementation.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic with large socioeconomic consequences for all Member States and the twin digital and green transitions, the Social Summit came at a timely moment. The Action Plan on the Pillar of Social Rights was a welcome contribution to the discussions at the Social Summit.
A non-paper by Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Netherlands and Sweden contributed to the discussion, expressed support for the Action Plan and highlighted this important initiative to reinvigorate the European Social Model and turn the principles of the Pillar into actions.