EU ministers to discuss the Economy of Wellbeing and skills needs in the changing world of work

Ministry of Economic Affairs and EmploymentMinistry of Social Affairs and Health 22.10.2019 12.25
Press release

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) will meet for the second time during Finland’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in Luxembourg on 24 October.

 Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen will chair the meeting together with Minister of Employment Timo Harakka.

 Economy of Wellbeing puts emphasis on wellbeing and sustainable development

In the meeting, EU ministers are expected to adopt Council conclusions on the Economy of Wellbeing. This topic is one of the main priorities of Finland’s Presidency in the health and social sector. Finland wants wellbeing policy and economic policy to go hand in hand in EU decision-making. 

The Economy of Wellbeing approach means that a virtuous circle of policies is created where wellbeing and economic growth reinforce each other and profit both people and society as a whole. People’s wellbeing is one of the corner stones of the EU. That is why the Economy of Wellbeing approach is ideally suited for future EU programmes. 

“Wellbeing policy can increase stability and security in society and boost people’s trust in public policies. The Economy of Wellbeing approach supports the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the strengthening of social rights,” says Minister Pekonen.

The Council conclusions will create a basis for further work on the Economy of Wellbeing. They include recommendations to the European Commission and Member States on social, health, education and employment policies and on gender equality.
Social affairs ministers will hold a debate on enhancing anti-discrimination in Europe and discuss the Commission’s proposal for an equal treatment directive, which has been at a standstill for a long time already. Finland’s Presidency will try to find a way to break the deadlock in the negotiations.

In addition to each other’s views, the ministers will also hear the views of the European Commission, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) and NGOs. Finland will draw up Presidency conclusions based on the discussions in the Council to support the Commission in its anti-discrimination work.

Changing world of work calls for a common strategic approach to continuous lifelong learning

EU ministers will hold a debate on ways to improve lifelong learning so that people have real possibilities to upskill and reskill themselves throughout their careers. Finland has prepared questions for the ministers, covering matters such as anticipating labour market needs, addressing the marked differences in participation in lifelong learning, and sharing the responsibility for skills development between the public and private sectors and individuals. 
Minister of Employment Timo Harakka will chair the discussion.

“Transformation of work, intensified global competition and changing skills requirements affect us all, and it is important that the EU countries invest in reskilling and upskilling. Everyone must have access to continuous lifelong learning throughout their careers, regardless of their educational background,” says Minister Harakka.

Ministers are also due to adopt Council conclusions, prepared by Finland, on the EU promoting the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work. 

Inquiries:

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