9 October, the "Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs
Council (EPSCO)" adopted the Key messages on the social situation
and the related annual report of the Social Affairs Committee. The discussion
between the ministers focused on the impact of new technologies on work and the
European path towards a just digital transition. In the discussion, the
ministers emphasised that the digitisation of working life must be accompanied
by a balance between the opportunities and the risks.
Balance between the opportunities and risks of digitisation
order to counteract a digital divide and to use the opportunities of digitisation,
specific digital qualifications and a culture of lifelong learning are needed.
Labour and social law has a special protective function here. Targeted measures
must be taken to counteract the risks associated with this change. These
concern, for example, data protection or control over decisions. In this
context, the ministers pointed to the great potential of the technologies to be
tapped, using the examples of artificial intelligence and algorithmic
management. However, their use must be accompanied by clear rules and
transparency obligations. For example, it is important to ensure that
everyone's personal rights are respected, that a human being always has the
final decision-making power and that decisions based on algorithms can be
corrected. In addition, the ministers discussed how the European Semester can
support the Member States in taking appropriate measures for a fair digital
transition. A discussion that is still in its infancy at the European level.
The ministers emphasised the role of the social partners and the importance of
Social and labour market policy measures have an impact
main findings of the key messages on employment and social challenges are that
social and labour market policies work. Despite the Russian war of aggression
against Ukraine, the energy crisis and inflationary pressures in 2022, the
labour market has been resilient and the levels of people experiencing poverty
or social exclusion have remained stable. The special role of the European
Pillar of Social Rights is emphasised. This provides the framework to accompany
positive employment dynamics with social protection and social inclusion
measures. The importance of social investment is emphasised.
Closer coordination of economic, financial, employment and social policy
adopted the Employment Guidelines for 2023: The 2022 guidelines have been
retained, while the recitals are adapted to take into account the 2030 headline
targets and the national targets for employment, skills and poverty reduction.
From the ministers' point of view, it is necessary to establish closer
coordination between economic, financial, employment and social policies at the
European level. Social Protection Committee (SPC) and Employment Policy
Committee (EMCO) will adapt their existing monitoring tools for this purpose.