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[Luxembourg 2005 Presidency of the Council of the European Union]
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Press Release
Minister Biltgen meets Vladimir Spidla, Commissioner responsible for Employment and Social Affairs

Date of release : 26-01-2005

Policy area : Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs

François Biltgen, Minister for Labour and Employment, has received Vladimir Spidla, Member of the European Commission responsible for dossiers on employment, social affairs and equal opportunities.

During this meeting, François Biltgen and Vladimir Spidla went through the most important dossiers the Luxembourg Presidency will have to deal with, while touching on the specific cooperation and follow-up between the Commission and the Presidency.

At the heart of the discussions, the emphasis was placed on the aspect of "labour and employment" of the Lisbon Strategy, the new guidelines for the employment policy to be adopted by the Member States under the Luxembourg Presidency, as well as the new Social Agenda. The Luxembourg Presidency has particularly insisted on the necessary complementarity between these elements.

Another key point of the discussion was the directive proposal on certain aspects of the reform of working hours. The Commissioner noted with interest that the Luxembourg minister insisted on replacing the discussions on a technical basis and moving away from the sometimes very political stance this directive provokes. The Luxembourg Presidency will seek to identify current practices in the Member States, to define the real needs resulting therefrom and draw conclusions at the level of formulating the text, with a specific view to taking the necessary decisions on the question of recourse to the "opt out", which is included as the option to abandon the directive’s minimum protective regulations through individual agreements.

The discussions finally moved on to the Tripartite Social Summit, which precedes the Spring Summit. The Luxembourg Presidency expressed its wish to the European Commissioner to see a global debate on the revised Lisbon Strategy during this event.

This page was last modified on : 26-01-2005

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