"We have to reach real mobility within the EU in the near future", said Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, adding that "quality public services" are also need to react to demographic changes.
The debate followed the Green Paper "Confronting demographic change: a new solidarity between the generations", published by the Commission in March. With a view to boosting employment, delegations referred in particular to: increasing the skills and qualifications of workers through lifelong learning; the notion of 'making work pay'; ensuring an adequate management of migration flows' reconciliation of family and professional lives.
The Swedish delegation moreover made a proposal for a Pact for Equal Opportunities, while the Luxembourg delegation suggested that every EU citizen should have access to 420 hours of education a year.
Ministers reached a partial political agreement on the PROGRESS employment and social solidarity programme, in view of the yet-to-be-agreed EU budget for 2007-2013, for which the Commission has proposed a budget of euro 628.8 million. It comprises five sections: employment, social protection and inclusion, working conditions, anti-discrimination and diversity, and gender equality.
The Council also reached political agreement on a recast version of a Directive on the equality of men and women in matters of employment and occupation. The basic idea is to bring together in a single text the main...