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EU ministers to discuss pharmaceutical policy, health and safety at work, gender equality and future of labour law

Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
Publication date 5.12.2019 16.19
Press release 160/2019

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) will meet for the last time during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Brussels on 9–10 December. Health ministers will meet on the first day, and ministers responsible for employment, social affairs and gender equality on the second day.

Press release was corrected on 9 Dec 2019 at 13:52: Minister for Nordic Cooperation and Equality Thomas Blomqvist´s name has been removed.

The Council meeting will be chaired by Minister of Family Affairs and Social Services Krista Kiuru and Minister of Employment Timo Harakka.

Health ministers to discuss health aspects of the Economy of Wellbeing and measures to improve access to medicines

Minister Kiuru will chair the health ministers’ debate on investing in health as a key component of the Economy of Wellbeing. The ministers will discuss the topic with a focus on the areas of mental health, healthy ageing and the digital transformation of health and social services. The debate is a follow up on the exchange of views in October when the Council also adopted conclusions on the Economy of Wellbeing, as proposed by Finland’s Presidency.

Finland has prepared conclusions on gender equality, health and safety at work and inclusive labour markets

Gender equality is among the top priorities of the Finnish Presidency. The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on gender equal economies in the EU. Moreover, the ministers will hold a debate on the future of gender equality and gender mainstreaming in the EU.

The Council is expected to adopt conclusions on health and safety at work. Considering the growing pace of change in ways of working, the Council conclusions aim to support the new Commission in its work to promote health and safety at work.

During its Presidency, Finland has advanced the debate on inclusive labour markets. Chaired by Minister Harakka, the Council is expected to adopt conclusions aiming to find ways to facilitate employment of people who have impaired capacity to work or are otherwise in a vulnerable position.

Minister Harakka will also chair a debate on the future of EU labour law. The aim of the discussion is to give Member States the opportunity to explore possible avenues for filling the remaining legislative gaps and for updating existing laws. The ministers will exchange views on new ways of working, increasing labour mobility and on ways to improve social dialogue.

At the end of the Council meetings, Croatia, as the incoming presidency of the Council starting on 1 January, will present its work programme.


Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63425

Liisa Heinonen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, tel. +358 50 396 0605

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