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Μore efficient decision-making in social policy and EU’s support to Notre Dame reconstruction

Met dank overgenomen van Europese Commissie (EC), gepubliceerd op woensdag 17 april 2019.

Commission proposes to make decision-making in social policy more efficient and coordinates EU assistance for the reconstruction efforts of Notre Dame

More efficient decision-making in EU social policy

The Commission launched today a discussion on how to render decision-making at EU level more efficient in the social field.

In his 2018 State of the Union speech, President Juncker announced a comprehensive review of the so-called passerelle clauses provided for by the EU Treaties. These clauses allow for a shift from unanimity to qualified majority voting under certain circumstances.

As a result, three Communications have already been adopted: on common foreign and security policy (September 2018), on taxation (January 2019) and on energy and climate (April 2019). The Communication on the passerelle clauses in social policy is the fourth one.

As a first step, looking at the merits and challenges of each case, the Commission proposes to consider the use of the passerelle to facilitate decision-making on non-discrimination. This would help further develop equal protection against discrimination. The use of the passerelle clause could also be considered in the near future to adopt recommendations in the area of social security and social protection of workers. This would help to guide the process of modernisation of and convergence between social protection systems.

Moving to qualified majority voting does not change who does what. The scope of and conditions for the exercise of EU powers remain intact. For example, Member States will continue to be responsible to determine the features of their own social protection systems. Social partners will keep their competences and national social dialogue traditions remain untouched. Union action will continue to focus on where it is necessary and can deliver clear benefits, as foreseen in the Treaties.

To activate this passerelle clause, according to Article 48(7) of the Treaty on European Union, the European Council would have to decide by unanimity, with no objection from national parliaments, and with the European Parliament's consent.

Notre Dame

Commissioners shared their collective feelings of sympathy to France and the French people and President Juncker asked Commissioners Oettinger, Stylianides, Navracsics and Creţu to coordinate the EU's assistance for the reconstruction efforts of Notre Dame.

Speaking at the Plenary session of the European Parliament President Juncker said:" « Hier fut une journée terrible pour tous ceux qui aiment la France et qui aiment Paris. Dans la vie de nous tous, Paris n'est pas un endroit neutre. C'est un endroit dont nous aimons toujours retomber amoureux. Voir cette ville aux prises avec une tragédie qui n’est pas seulement architecturale, mais qui concerne la vie des Français, voir être détruit par les flammes le signe extérieur de la force française - puisque nombreux sont ceux qui visitent Notre -Dame depuis toujours - fait mal au cœur.

Hier, une part importante de la France vient d'être gravement blessée et nous sommes tous un peu veuves et veufs. Et donc je voudrais exprimer à l'égard de nos amis français les sympathies entières de la Commission européenne qui d’ailleurs s'est déclarée d'accord pour appuyer tous les efforts dont la France pourrait avoir besoin. L’Europe a été blessée, la France a été blessée, Paris a été blessée, nous avons été blessés et nous sommes solidaires de nos amis français. "

Foreign Affairs

The College discussed the current geopolitical situation in the Southern rim of the European Union, notably in Libya, Sudan and Algeria and the situation in Ukraine.

Related links

European Commission Communication: More efficient decision-making in social policy: Identification of areas for an enhanced move to qualified majority voting

MEMO: More efficient decision-making in social policy - Questions and Answers

Factsheet: How do we improve decision-making in EU social policy?

European Political Strategy Centre paper on the ‘passerelle clauses'

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