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EU policies – Delivering for citizens: Health and social security

28-06-2019

While responsibility for health and social security lies primarily with the governments of the individual European Union (EU) Member States, the EU complements national policies, especially those with a cross-border dimension. In a recent poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than two thirds of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on health and social security. EU health policy aims to foster good health, protect citizens from health threats and support dynamic health ...

While responsibility for health and social security lies primarily with the governments of the individual European Union (EU) Member States, the EU complements national policies, especially those with a cross-border dimension. In a recent poll conducted for the European Parliament, more than two thirds of EU citizens expressed support for increased EU action on health and social security. EU health policy aims to foster good health, protect citizens from health threats and support dynamic health systems. It is mainly implemented through EU action programmes, currently the third health programme (2014-2020). Challenges include tackling the health needs of an ageing population and reducing the incidence of preventable chronic diseases. Since 2014, steps forward have been made in a number of areas, including antimicrobial resistance, childhood obesity, health systems, medical devices and vaccination. EU action on social security issues in the EU is closely related to the implementation of what is known as the European Pillar of Social Rights as well as labour market developments. The EU helps to promote social cohesion, seeking to foster equality as well as solidarity through adequate, accessible and financially sustainable social protection systems and social inclusion policies. EU spending on social security is tied to labour market measures. Progress can be observed on issues such as work-life balance and equal opportunities, but there is more to do. In the future, social protection schemes will need to be further adapted to the new labour market realities (fewer manufacturing jobs, atypical contracts, 'platform work', etc.). In its proposal for the 2021-2027 multiannual financial framework, the European Commission plans to boost funding to improve workers' employment opportunities, and strengthen social cohesion through an enlarged 'European Social Fund Plus'. The fund would also incorporate finance for the stand-alone health programme, with the aim of creating synergies with the other building blocks of the European Pillar of Social Rights: equal opportunities and access to the labour market; fair working conditions; and social protection and inclusion. This is an update of an earlier briefing issued in advance of the 2019 European elections.

Revising the social security coordination regulations

16-04-2019

Around 14 million EU citizens live outside their home country. The social security systems that apply to them are determined by the relevant individual Member States. The European Commission proposed to adapt the current regulations on coordination of social security systems. A provisional agreement was reached between the Council Presidency and the European Parliament, but was rejected at the Coreper meeting on 29 March 2019. Parliament will discuss the file during its April II 2019 plenary session ...

Around 14 million EU citizens live outside their home country. The social security systems that apply to them are determined by the relevant individual Member States. The European Commission proposed to adapt the current regulations on coordination of social security systems. A provisional agreement was reached between the Council Presidency and the European Parliament, but was rejected at the Coreper meeting on 29 March 2019. Parliament will discuss the file during its April II 2019 plenary session.

Ensuring more transparent and predictable working conditions

11-04-2019

An employer's obligation to inform their employees on the conditions applicable to their contracts is regulated by Directive 91/533/EEC. Major shifts in the labour market due to demographic trends and digitalisation, spawning a growing number of non-standard employment relationships, have made it necessary to revise the directive. The European Commission has responded to the need for change with a proposal aimed at updating and extending the information on employment-related obligations and working ...

An employer's obligation to inform their employees on the conditions applicable to their contracts is regulated by Directive 91/533/EEC. Major shifts in the labour market due to demographic trends and digitalisation, spawning a growing number of non-standard employment relationships, have made it necessary to revise the directive. The European Commission has responded to the need for change with a proposal aimed at updating and extending the information on employment-related obligations and working conditions, and at creating new minimum standards for all employed workers, including those on atypical contracts. In the European Parliament, the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs (EMPL) has adopted a report focused on the scope of the directive, on employees' working hours and the conditions for making information available to them, and on employers' responsibilities. The provisional agreement concluded in trilogue between European Parliament and the Council negotiators sets, among other things, new rules on the scope of the directive, the date of providing information, the length of probatory periods, and regulates working conditions in the case of variable working schedules. This agreement now needs to be approved by Parliament in plenary.

European Labour Authority

08-04-2019

The rapid increase in the number of Europeans working in a Member State other than their own, the large number of daily cross-border commuters and the need for information on job opportunities and rights at home and abroad have led the European Commission to propose the creation of a European-level coordinating body. The European Labour Authority (ELA) would replace, reorganise, or cooperate with existing structures dealing with information for individuals and employers, mediate between national ...

The rapid increase in the number of Europeans working in a Member State other than their own, the large number of daily cross-border commuters and the need for information on job opportunities and rights at home and abroad have led the European Commission to propose the creation of a European-level coordinating body. The European Labour Authority (ELA) would replace, reorganise, or cooperate with existing structures dealing with information for individuals and employers, mediate between national labour authorities and social security bodies, and gather viable data on posted workers and commuters. According to the provisional agreement between the Council and the Parliament, reached on 26 February 2019, the main tasks of the ELA will be to facilitate access to information, enhance cooperation, and coordinate and support concerted and joint inspections. Furthermore, the ELA, in cooperation with Member States and social partner organisations, will assess risks and carry out analyses regarding labour mobility and social security coordination. The ELA may also conclude cooperation agreements with other relevant Union agencies. The European Parliament is due to vote on the provisional agreement in plenary in April 2019.

Revising the statutes of three decentralised EU agencies: EU-OSHA, Cedefop and Eurofound

05-12-2018

The European Commission has proposed a revision of the founding regulations of three decentralised agencies (Cedefop, Eurofound and EU-OSHA) in order to update their objectives and tasks, and to define more precisely their roles in supporting the EU institutions and bodies, the Member States, and the social partners, as well as those involved in shaping and implementing policies at European and national levels in their respective policy areas. The agreed texts of the proposals, reached after extensive ...

The European Commission has proposed a revision of the founding regulations of three decentralised agencies (Cedefop, Eurofound and EU-OSHA) in order to update their objectives and tasks, and to define more precisely their roles in supporting the EU institutions and bodies, the Member States, and the social partners, as well as those involved in shaping and implementing policies at European and national levels in their respective policy areas. The agreed texts of the proposals, reached after extensive interinstitutional negotiations, now need to be confirmed in votes expected to take place during the December plenary session.

Proportionality test for new national regulations for professions

08-06-2018

In the EU, professions are regulated at either Union or Member State level. In the latter case, qualification requirements can differ widely between Member States, due to their respective historical development and experience. This can lead to a lack of clarity on the criteria used, and result in fragmentation of the single market. The proposed directive on a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions, tabled by the European Commission, intends to harmonise the way in which ...

In the EU, professions are regulated at either Union or Member State level. In the latter case, qualification requirements can differ widely between Member States, due to their respective historical development and experience. This can lead to a lack of clarity on the criteria used, and result in fragmentation of the single market. The proposed directive on a proportionality test before adoption of new regulation of professions, tabled by the European Commission, intends to harmonise the way in which proportionality tests are carried out before Member States introduce new regulation on professions. The directive will supplement provisions of Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications, last amended by Directive 2013/55/EU. The European Parliament proposes a specific status for healthcare services, and explicitly addresses gold-plating practices (unnecessary national requirements). With a text agreed between Parliament and Council in trilogue in March, Parliament is due to vote on whether to confirm this text in June. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

Proportionality test for new national regulations for professions

06-06-2018

In the European Union, the right to choose an occupation and to exercise a regulated profession is a fundamental right. While professions are regulated either at Union or at Member State level, the EU principles of proportionality and non-discrimination should be respected. The Parliament and the Council reached agreement in trilogue negotiations on the European Commission's proposal concerning a proportionality test before adoption of new measures for the regulation of professions. The agreement ...

In the European Union, the right to choose an occupation and to exercise a regulated profession is a fundamental right. While professions are regulated either at Union or at Member State level, the EU principles of proportionality and non-discrimination should be respected. The Parliament and the Council reached agreement in trilogue negotiations on the European Commission's proposal concerning a proportionality test before adoption of new measures for the regulation of professions. The agreement reached in March 2018 is scheduled to be voted by the Parliament at first reading during the June plenary session.

Posting of Workers Directive

31-05-2018

Posting of workers plays an important role in the internal market, particularly in the cross-border provision of services. While the number of posted workers continues to increase significantly, problems such as unfair practices and unequal remuneration persist. In addition, the correct balance between the freedom to provide cross-border services and the social rights of workers is needed, and moreover, needs to be adapted to today’s labour market situation. The targeted revision of the Posting of ...

Posting of workers plays an important role in the internal market, particularly in the cross-border provision of services. While the number of posted workers continues to increase significantly, problems such as unfair practices and unequal remuneration persist. In addition, the correct balance between the freedom to provide cross-border services and the social rights of workers is needed, and moreover, needs to be adapted to today’s labour market situation. The targeted revision of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) proposed by the Commission intended to bring changes in three main areas: the remuneration of posted workers (making it equal to that of local workers, even when subcontracting), more coherent rules on temporary agency workers, as well as long-term posting. The provisional agreement reached in trilogue negotiations states that long-term posting (with labour law provisions of the host country to be applied) starts after 12 months (with a possible extension of six months). The overall amount of remuneration received by a posted worker must meet the level of remuneration in the host Member State (without the reimbursement of the worker’s expenses) which must be published on a single national website. Host Member States can accord to posted workers the coverage of representative collective agreements in all sectors, and they must protect them against fraudulent posting. Fifth edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure.

Revising the Posting of Workers Directive

25-05-2018

Posting of workers plays an increasing role in the internal market, particularly in the cross-border provision of services. The Parliament and Council reached agreement in trilogue negotiations on the targeted revision of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) proposed by the European Commission. The agreement reached in March is scheduled to be voted by Parliament at first reading during the May II plenary session.

Posting of workers plays an increasing role in the internal market, particularly in the cross-border provision of services. The Parliament and Council reached agreement in trilogue negotiations on the targeted revision of the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) proposed by the European Commission. The agreement reached in March is scheduled to be voted by Parliament at first reading during the May II plenary session.

Amending social security coordination

13-10-2017

Approximately 14 million EU residents (mobile workers, unemployed and economically inactive citizens) are not living in their home country. In order to grant them the social and health benefits to which they are entitled, coordination between the social security systems of the Member States is necessary. However, the current Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and (EC) No 987/2009 no longer reflect the changing national social security systems and the case law of the European Court of Justice. The European ...

Approximately 14 million EU residents (mobile workers, unemployed and economically inactive citizens) are not living in their home country. In order to grant them the social and health benefits to which they are entitled, coordination between the social security systems of the Member States is necessary. However, the current Regulations (EC) No 883/2004 and (EC) No 987/2009 no longer reflect the changing national social security systems and the case law of the European Court of Justice. The European Commission’s December 2016 proposal aims to establish a coherent regime for the coordination of long-term care benefits, and to clarify the access of economically inactive citizens to social benefits. It proposes new arrangements for the coordination of unemployment benefits in order to enhance job-seeking, and provisions for the coordination of family benefits, such as parental leave allowances. The proposal also seeks to strengthen administrative rules on social security coordination for posted workers. However, it does not intend to change existing rules on the export of child benefits, despite demands from several stakeholders. Second edition. The ‘EU Legislation in Progress’ briefings are updated at key stages throughout the legislative procedure. Please note this document has been designed for on-line viewing.

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