EU employment and social affairs ministers to discuss follow-up to Porto Social Summit, European Semester and employment of people with disabilities
The EU ministers responsible for employment and social affairs will meet at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) in Luxembourg on 16 June 2022. Finland’s representatives at the Council will be Minister of Employment Tuula Haatainen and Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Sarkkinen.
The ministers will discuss the employment of persons with disabilities and the removal of barriers to their employment. Minister of Employment Haatainen will speak about the Government Programme’s working capacity programme and Työkanava, which will begin operations this summer.
“Work is an important way to participate in society. With Työkanava, we can make use of the skills and labour input of people with impaired work capacity who face the most hurdles to employment and promote their access to working life. I hope that the current labour shortage has opened the eyes of employers to the potential offered by these jobseekers who have previously been too easily ignored in recruitment,” Haatainen says.
Minister Haatainen will also attend a lunch meeting to discuss the employment of Ukrainian refugees. She emphasises the need to ensure that refugees who often find themselves in a vulnerable position do not fall victim to abuse, exploitation or human trafficking.
EU and Finland seek to reduce poverty
The EU Member States agreed on objectives on employment, skills and reduction of poverty and social exclusion at the Porto Social Summit in spring 2021. The Member States have now set their national targets and the ministers will discuss the progress towards them. Finland wants to reduce the number of people who are at risk of poverty or social exclusion by 100,000 people by 2030.
“Cutting poverty requires broad-based social policy and long-term work in which cooperation between different bodies plays a key role. An action plan to reduce poverty is currently under preparation by the Ministry and civil society organisations,” says Minister of Social Affairs and Health Sarkkinen.
The ministers will also discuss the European Semester that guides the coordination of the economic, fiscal, labour and social policies at EU and national level. The Council will adopt the country-specific recommendations for 2022 and the views of the Employment Committee and the Social Protection Committee on the evaluation of the country-specific recommendations for 2022 and on the implementation of the recommendations for 2019 and 2020.
The Commission recommends that Finland implement a social security reform in 2020−2027 that would make the system more efficient, increase incentives for work and support the long-term sustainability of public finances.
Haatainen and Sarkkinen will also meet the minister from the Czech Republic, which will hold the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from July. In addition, Haatainen will have a bilateral meeting with Denmark’s Minister for Employment and Minister Sarkkinen with Slovenia’s Minister of Social Affairs.
Piritta Jokelainen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Employment, tel. +358 295 047 353
Jiri Sironen, Special Adviser to the Minister of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 40 450 9077 Juuli Hakulinen, Specialist, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 295 163 651