EU Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs discussed economy of wellbeing and skills needs in the changing labour market
The topics for the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 24 October 2019 included the economy of wellbeing and workers’ skills in the changing labour market. This was the second EPSCO Council meeting during the Finnish Presidency.
Minister of Social Affairs and Health Aino-Kaisa Pekonen chaired the meeting together with Minister of Employment Timo Harakka.
Economy of wellbeing – a new mindset for economic growth
The ministers adopted Council conclusions on the economy of wellbeing, one of the priority themes for Finland’s Presidency in the health and social sector.
Finland would like to see wellbeing policy and economic policy go hand in hand in EU policy-making. Wellbeing and economic growth feed into each other for the benefit of individuals and the entire society.
The ministers also held a policy debate on how to enhance anti-discrimination in Europe, based on the Commission’s proposal for a directive on equality.
Changing world of work demands continuous learning
The EU ministers addressed ways to improve lifelong learning so that people have real opportunities to upskill and reskill throughout their careers.
The ministers also adopted Council conclusions on the ILO Centenary Declaration for the Future of Work.
The Economy of Wellbeing marks a paradigm shift from the focus on economic growth towards the wellbeing of people, which is a principal aim of the whole EU project. We invite the Commission to propose a new long-term strategy for the Union to succeed the Europe 2020 strategy for growth and jobs, reflecting the Economy of Wellbeing.
Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health of Finland
Labour markets and upskilling needs are changing at an unprecedented pace. We need a more strategic approach to lifelong learning in the EU and we need to encourage people in a weaker labour market position to participate. Lifelong learning is essential for ensuring Europe’s competitiveness, social inclusion and wellbeing.
Timo Harakka, Minister of Employment of Finland