The Netherlands and the EU Presidency: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

The Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from 1 January to 30 June 2016.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council covers matter such as job creation, better working conditions, social security and gender equality. During its EU Presidency, the Netherlands will focus on the following points:

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*  Decent work. This involves working conditions and terms and conditions of employment. The EU wants to combat exploitation of and unfair competition among mobile workers. It is committed to the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work in the same workplace’. Key instruments include the Posting of Workers Directive (which is being revised) and the Regulation on the Coordination of Social Security Systems. Action also needs to be taken to tackle undeclared work and shell companies, and to improve regulation of subcontractors’ liability for salaries tax and social insurance contributions.

*  Better protection for employees against carcinogens in the workplace. Approximately 100,000 employees die of cancer in the EU every year. For years, the Netherlands has been pressing for expansion of the list of carcinogens with limit values in the Directive on exposure to carcinogens and mutagens at work. EU Commissioner Marianne Thyssen wants to try and achieve that during the Dutch Presidency.

*  Poverty reduction in the EU. The number of people living in poverty in Europe is increasing, due in part to the financial and economic crisis. The Netherlands is encouraging other member states to tackle poverty by exchanging knowledge and experience. A comprehensive approach is important. Various meetings will be held on this issue and the Netherlands hopes to arrive at a political declaration on this subject.

The Netherlands EU Presidency 2016