Cancellation of EPSCO Council was a bad decision

The ETUC condemns the Austrian Presidency’s decision to cancel the scheduled meeting of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council today, 11 October, which was due to discuss progress on the European Pillar of Social Rights, and in particular the establishment of a European Labour Authority to assist in enforcing workers’ rights and to fight fraud and abuse of commonly agreed rules to combat social dumping.

“This arbitrary and unjustified decision sends out completely the wrong message to European citizens,” said ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini.

“As the EU prepares for elections next year, it is vital to demonstrate that social issues and workers’ concerns are being taken seriously. Nearly a year ago, EU leaders committed themselves to the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Presidency should understand that its urgent implementation is not an ‘optional extra’ but a priority of fundamental importance.

“The Social Pillar includes badly needed measures to improve the lives of workers in Europe: tackling precarious and insecure work, fostering a better work-life balance and guaranteeing stronger social protection, for example.

“Cancelling the meeting and shoving the discussion onto the back burner is precisely the sort of decision calculated to raise mistrust and scepticism about the EU’s intentions, and thereby encourage nationalism and anti-EU extremism.”

The ETUC calls on the Austrian Presidency to think again, and reschedule the meeting at the earliest opportunity.