As with earlier EU Presidencies, the social priority at the start of 2014 is to promote employment. With a record jobless rate in the EU, Athens hardly sees itself as an example and will be intent on facilitating implementation of actions related to the Youth Employment Initiative. Over and above this priority dictated by the crisis, however, the Greek EU Presidency will strive to make a difference on legislative proposals ahead of the European elections. It will focus in particular on the implementing directive on the posting of workers, meant to prevent poorly paid workers from competing unfairly with workers in another member state. Athens, on behalf of the Council, will steer negotiations with the European Parliament on this proposal, on which positions diverge widely in terms of member state or political convictions. Based on their respective positions, opposition between Parliament and the Council will primarily concern the principle of joint and several liability. The EP backs mandatory joint liability in all sectors and throughout the chain of subcontractors, while the Council prefers to limit liability to the construction sector or to replace it, as appropriate, with equivalent measures. Three-way talks on the draft decision relating to establishment of a European network of public employment services are also set to begin under the Greek Presidency, but will probably be less difficult.

Other issues of this half-year include: the Council decision on a tripartite social summit on growth...

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