Ministers will vote on adequate minimum wages in the EU and discuss the current COVID-19 situation

Met dank overgenomen van Sloveens voorzitterschap Europese Unie 2e helft 2021 i, gepubliceerd op vrijdag 3 december 2021.

Ministers will vote on adequate minimum wages in the EU and discuss the current COVID-19 situation

Following intensive and constructive negotiations during the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU, Slovenia will propose the approval of the Council's position on a directive on adequate minimum wages in the EU. On health, the Slovenian Presidency will continue reviewing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and working on strengthening preparedness for future health crises.

The meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) will take place in Brussels on 6 and 7 December 2021 and will be chaired by Minister Janez Cigler Kralj (employment and social affairs session of the Council meeting) and Minister Janez Poklukar (health and consumer affairs session of the Council meeting).

The contribution of the Slovenian Presidency to improving working and living conditions in the EU

One of the main priorities of the Slovenian Presidency in the area of emyploment and social affairs is promoting quality work, which is important for the resilience of labour markets and for the quality of life of all generations. In the context of demographic change and the digital and green transition, quality work can only mean work that is also sustainable, as reflected by the Council Conclusions on sustainable work throughout the life course, which were prepared by the Slovenian Presidency and are to be approved by the Council at the meeting.

The most important contribution to improving working and living conditions in the EU will undoubtedly come from the directive on adequate minimum wages and the directive on binding pay transparency measures; the Slovenian Presidency has prepared the way for a Council position to be adopted on these directives.

The aim of the directives is to ensure and improve the working and living conditions of workers and to build fair and resilient economies and societies. Workers in the EU must be protected by an adequate minimum wage that allows them a decent life, irrespective of where they work. At the same time, we must guarantee the right to equal pay for women and men for work of equal value.

Janez Cigler Kralj Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

Janez Cigler Kralj Minister of Labour, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities

During its Presidency of the EU Council, Slovenia has put considerable effort into finding compromises on both draft directives. EU member states have praised the constructive and transparent approach of the Slovenian Presidency, especially its willingness to listen to all countries during the negotiations and take their proposals into account. The negotiations resulted in two compromise proposals which member states agreed to submit to the Council for approval. This is an important step, which signals that the two proposals could receive the support of the majority, but the final decision remains in the hands of the ministers.

Health ministers on strengthening the European Health Union and the current COVID-19 situation

As part of the discussion on COVID-19, ministers will be brought up to date on the Omicron variant and will also address the joint procurement of therapeutics for the treatment of patients with COVID-19, booster doses, and vaccination for children and adolescents.

Ministers will also take note of progress on strengthening and improving resilience of the European Health Union, which is the Slovenian Presidency’s priority for health. In addition to updating the ministers on the political agreements reached in relation to the strengthened mandates of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Slovenia will lead the discussion on the Council Regulation on the emergency framework regarding medical countermeasures.

The Council is also expected to approve conclusions on strengthening the European Health Union, focusing on implementing innovative solutions for resilient health systems, improving accessibility and availability of medicinal products, combating cancer and the EU's role in global health.

As we face another wave and new variants of the virus, we need to look to the future and plan for it. We need a more resilient European Health Union, with better insight into cross-border health threats and a more uniform EU response, so that we can protect the health of our citizens in the future.

Janez Poklukar Minister of Health

Janez Poklukar Minister of Health

The Slovenian Presidency and the Commission will also brief ministers on Europe's Beating Cancer Plan, the outcome of the special session of WHO General Assembly on pandemic preparedness and response, and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Press contacts

Špela Horjak

Coreper I Spokesperson

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