Minister A. Pabedinskienė: “The Lithuanian Presidency achieved important results in the field of social security and labour

30 December 2013, Last updated at, 13:16 EET
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author: Council © European Union

In the period of the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council the European Union, special attention in the field of social security and labour was focused on improving the employment situation, especially of young people, better protection of workers, and social inclusion.

“I am delighted that we implemented the set goals, and achieved Europe-wide significant results during the Lithuanian Presidency. Among the other achievements, I would like to single out the Council Declaration on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships, implementation of the Youth Employment Initiative and Youth Guarantee Scheme, consensus on the proposal for the new Directive on Enforcement of Posting Workers, and on a measure of strengthening the social dimension as employment and social indicator metrics, as well as a Fund to help the most deprived persons in the EU that will start functioning in 2014,” said Minister of Social Security and Labour Algimanta Pabedinskienė.

In October in Luxembourg EU ministers responsible for social security and employment approved the Council Declaration on the European Alliance for Apprenticeships drawn up by the Lithuanian Presidency, which essentially aims to ensure that in Member States, young people can effectively and efficiently acquire the experience and skills necessary for work. The Declaration expresses the endeavours of EU Member States to improve the quality and supply of apprenticeship schemes including employers, public authorities and social partners.

“Youth unemployment is significantly lower in those states where apprenticeship schemes – learning at the workplace – are effectively functioning, and young people from the first year of studies can learn by working and gain practical professional skills. Youth unemployment in states where systems of learning at the workplace are widespread is the lowest in the EU,” said Minister A. Pabedinskienė.

The Lithuanian Presidency developed the Declaration of the Council, this on the basis of outcomes of the informal meeting of ministers responsible for social security and employment held in Vilnius in July.

An important issue during the Lithuanian Presidency was the implementation of the Youth Guarantee Scheme, which it was attempted to implement at the national level. The purpose of the Youth Guarantee initiative is to ensure that all young people under 29 years old receive an offer of employment, further training – including apprenticeship as a form of traineeship – or internship/traineeship during a four-month period from the loss of employment or completion of formal education.
Lithuania has developed a plan how to implement the Youth Guarantee Initiative to get support for Lithuania from the beginning of 2014. Lithuania has allocated 109 million litas for carrying out the Youth Guarantee Initiative in 2014-2020, and it is estimated that 120 million litas will also be assigned from the European Social Fund.

According to the Minister, it is also important that in December in Brussels the EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council finally reached consensus on the provisions of the new Directive on the Enforcement of Posting Workers. According to her, it is important and useful for all Member States, regardless of whether a Member State is “sending” or “receiving” the posted workers.

Approval of this Directive will not only improve the protection of posted workers and better prevent the violation of rights, but also facilitate the cross-border supply of services, and contribute to fair competition.

The Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council approved the employment and social indicator metrics which will help to better monitor the social and labour market situation, in particular in countries participating in the European Economic and Monetary Union, thus contributing to strengthening the social dimension of the Union.

The social dimension includes a range of policy measures to ensure that economic benefits are tied to social justice. They focus, for example, on balancing work and family responsibilities, opportunities to benefit from child-care services, engage in volunteering, and choosing an active old age.

Finally, an equally important role in strengthening the social dimension and the promotion of social inclusion will be given to the Fund to help the most deprived persons in the EU. Lithuania's Presidency reached a general consensus of the Member States for the expansion of the Fund’s application coverage by adding the financing of social inclusion measures and increasing the Fund budget from 2.5 billion to 3.5 billion euros. The Fund will contribute to the Europe 2020 strategy of reducing the number of people at risk of poverty and social exclusion, targeting at least 20 million such people.
 

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