Ministers Michael Farrugia, Helena Dalli and Evarist Bartolo present the priorities of the Maltese Presidency on Social Policy and Employment before the European Parliament

During a session of the EMPL Committee at the European Parliament in Brussels, Ministers Michael Farrugia, Helena Dalli and Evarist Bartolo presented the Maltese priorities on Social Policy and Employment.

Minister Farrugia highlighted the Maltese intention to touch on issues that are close to people’s hearts and that have an effect on their daily lives, while also helping to consolidate Europe’s social soul – a social Europe, a Europe of solidarity.

Dr Farrugia said that the Maltese Presidency has opted for ‘Making Work Pay’ as its main theme in the field of employment and social policy. He added that ‘Making Work Pay’ is considered to be a key issue for enhancing employment opportunities, reducing benefit dependency and increasing participation.

Minister Farrugia added that the Maltese Presidency will strive to move forward the discussions in Council on the proposed European Accessibility Act, a dossier which is viewed as important, given the objectives it sets out to achieve.

Minister Farrugia concluded that the Maltese Presidency will also ensure that the EPSCO Council will, together with the other relevant Council formations, takes forward the European Semester process to its conclusion in the European Council in June.

Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties Helena Dalli remarked that safeguarding of workers’ health and safety are among the main priorities of the Maltese Presidency within the employment and social affairs portfolio. Minister Dalli said that the Presidency is committed to work with the Commission to identify, remove or update outdated rules and to refocus efforts on ensuring better and broader protection, compliance and enforcement of occupational health and safety rules.

Dr Dalli also referred to the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive and explained that this Presidency will work to reach a compromise on a text that would be easily understood by both the workers and the industry.

The Maltese Presidency believes that in this process, we need to safeguard the interest of the workers, while aiming not to hinder the workings of the internal market and the freedom to provide services across borders, added Minister Dalli.

Dr Dalli said that the Maltese Presidency looks forward to the launch of the European Commission’s proposal on work-life balance, which aims to modernise the current EU legal and policy framework, leading to the adoption of such initiatives to today’s new labour market realities.

Minister Dalli tackled also the upscaling of skills of women and men in the EU Labour market, whereby the Maltese Presidency aims to discuss a set of Council conclusions to be adopted in the EPSCO Council meeting.

Minister Bartolo stated that based on the main theme of ‘Making Work Pay’, Malta will prepare draft Council conclusions with the aim of promoting initiatives aimed at incentivising those in unemployment to enter the labour market. Consequently, this will help to attract individuals back into employment, preventing labour inactivity and thus minimising the risk of poverty and social exclusion.

Furthermore, Minister Bartolo said that the Maltese Presidency will also seek progress in the negotiations with the European Parliament on the revision of the Founding Regulations of the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training (CEDEFOP). Further to the outcome of the public consultation launched by the Commission in 2016 with regard to the European Pillar of Social Rights, Minister Bartolo added that the Maltese Presidency will initiate the discussions in Council on this dossier.

Source: Government of Malta