16 Mar

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council held an informal virtual meeting on 15th of March 2021. The Hungarian delegation was represented by Mr Attila Fülöp, Minister of State for Social Affairs.

The first political debate was centered around the employment and social policies in the context of the Recovery and Resilience Plans (RRP). Most of the ministers agreed that following the crisis management, both the Union and the Member States should enter into a recovery phase. Furthermore, the ministers agreed that besides the significant challenges, the crisis creates opportunities for a recovery with quality jobs, created primarily in the digital and green sectors.

The Ministers held a policy debate on the action plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The action plan proposes headline targets for 2030 in the field of employment, training and combating poverty, and sets out ongoing and planned initiatives, aiming at the implementation of the principles of the Social Pillar. The debate was also a preparation for the Social Summit to be held in Porto on 7-8 May 2021, where the action plan will be at the centre of the discussions.

Regarding the area of gender equality, ministers were invited to held a policy debate on this topic. The policy debate focused on ways to strengthen equality, non-discrimination and diversity as policy priorities at a European level. In particular, ministers shared what legislative and non-legislative measures they believe necessary, in order to make further progress in these important areas.

At the meeting, both the Commission and the Presidency informed the Ministers on some of the current initiatives being on the EU agenda. The Commission presented the Green Paper on Ageing; its strategy on the rights of persons with disabilities for the period of 2021-2030; the EU anti-racism action plan 2020-2025; as well as its proposal on pay transparency measures.