The Council of the European Union for Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs-EPSCO

Topics on the agenda will be files which are currently discussed at the EU level, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures and Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation for which the Latvian Presidency will present the progress reports. Council will also adopt Draft Council conclusions on European Court of Auditors" Special Report No 3/2015 "EU Youth Guarantee: first steps taken but implementation risk ahead" and the European Commission will present the state of play on the implementation of EU actions to decrease youth unemployment. Topic is very important as 4,8 million young Europeans (age 15 to 24) are unemployed and EU takes this issue seriously. Based on the proposal from European Commission, Council will reach general approach for the Council Decision on guidelines for the employment policies of the Member States. Council will also adopt draft Council conclusions on equal income opportunities for women and men: Closing the gender gap in pensions which calls on European Commission and the Member States on action to decrease the gap which is 38,5% on the EU level. European Commission will present Report on the Functioning of the Transitional Arrangements on Free Movement of Workers from Croatia. Main topic for the discussion will be European Semester. Council will approve Country Specific Recommendations that fall under its competence and endorse documents prepared by its preparatory bodies Employment Committee and Social Protection Committee. Recommendations represent thematic areas in which implementation of the structural reforms are needed in the next 12-18 months. Regarding the recommendations that fall under competence of the EPSCO Council, most important ones are sustainability and adequacy of the pension system, investment in skills and education as key for successful participation on the labour market and recommendations which target poverty reduction and decrease of social exclusion through modernisation of the social security systems. After the official EPSCO Council meeting, ministers will during working lunch debate on the new EU Strategy for Gender Equality. Republic of Croatia will be represented by Ambassador Goran štefanic, Deputy Permanent Representative (COREPER I)

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