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Press release of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy
Gender equality issues discussed by the EU's ministers responsible for social affairs

Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health
7.12.2015 10.30
Press release 207

The EU's Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) will meet in Brussels on 7 December. This time, the council will discuss for example gender equality. Minister of Social Affairs and Health Hanna Mäntylä will represent Finland in the meeting.

The EPSCO council will discuss member states' views on the Commission's new strategic commitment which deals with gender equality. The Commission published the 'Strategic commitment on gender equality 2016–2019' on the first week of December.

Finland finds it important that consistent and coordinated work to promote gender equality is also done at the level of the EU. From Finland's point of view, the key issues in this commitment are equality in the world of work, pay equality, economic decision-making and the goals and measures related to prevention of gender-based violence.

'Violence causes significant human, social and economic harm. We really need to tackle gender-based violence even more strongly, both at EU level and in the Member States. We also need better services for victims of violence. The Istanbul Convention is an important tool in this work. We strongly support the EU's efforts to join the Istanbul Convention,' says Minister Mäntylä.

Additionally, the council currently discusses how long-term unemployment should be addressed. At the moment, the number of long-term unemployed in Europe, i.e. people who have been out of work for over a year, is over 12 million. Around one half of all unemployed people are long-term unemployed.

The ministers aim to find a common political understanding on a recommendation for dealing with long-term unemployment.  According to this recommendation, a personal assessment will be made to all long-term unemployed. They will be offered a professional integration agreement, which includes a concrete personal employment plan. This professional integration agreement will be made before 18 months of unemployment.

Additional information

Ministerial Adviser Johanna Hautakorpi, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63235

Ministerial Counsellor Liisa Heinonen, Ministry of Employment and the Economy, p. 029 50 64131

Hanna Mäntylä