With regard to employment and social policy, the Latvian Presidency has successfully promoted the current EU legislative proposals, and led ministerial and expert-level discussions on topical policy issues, thus defining further employment and social policy developments in the EU.

An agreement has been reached with regard to the following current EU legislative proposals:

1. The Directive on seafarers' labour rights (final agreement has been reached with the EP);

2. The decision on new employment guidelines, which shall be taken into account by the Member States when implementing their employment policies;

3. The decision on joining of the EU Member States to the ILO Protocol against forced labour, etc.

With regard to political developments, I would like to particularly point out the matters on which the Council conclusions were adopted during the Latvian Presidency, including:

1. Inclusive participation in the labour market, with an emphasis on the quality of jobs, a decent income and inclusion of the long-term unemployed (EPSCO March report and conclusions);

2. Current occupational health and safety challenges (EPSCO March report and conclusions);

3. Elimination of gender gap in pensions (EPSCO June report and conclusions), etc.

Latvian Presidency organized discussions of the employment and social policy ministers on topical issues related to the strengthening of the social dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union. In this area particular emphasis was put on the role of the social dialogue (informal EPSCO: agendapdf.gif - 641 B, a discussion paperpdf.gif - 641 B and summarypdf.gif - 641 B, as well as coordination of the Member States' cooperation and policies, thus creating well-functioning labour markets and sustainable social protection systems (EPSCO June report and conclusions).

In addition the Latvian Presidency provided the coordination the EU Member States' opinion also in global events - the session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (New York, March) and the International Labour Conference (Geneva, June)