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The draft directive of the European Parliament and the Council on Working Conditions for Temporary Workers (15098/02 (24066)) is also on the agenda. The UK has twin objectives in relation to this directive—flexibility for employers and fairness for workers. The UK has been seeking a directive that gives people a fair deal at work without putting their jobs at risk or cutting off a valuable route into employment. With these goals in mind the UK Government welcomed the recent agreement between the CBI and TUC on how fairer treatment for agency workers in the UK should be
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promoted. The UK Government will seek agreement on the terms of the directive that will enable this agreement to be brought into legal effect in the UK.

The Council will seek the adoption of conclusions on the Commission recommendation to enhance administrative co-operation in the context of the posting of workers. These relate to measures to improve the implementation of the posting of workers directive through enhanced administrative co-operation and exchange of information between member states, and to set up a committee to identify and exchange experience and good practice. The UK supports the recommendation.

The Council will also seek adoption of conclusions on anticipating and matching labour market needs, with special emphasis on youth. This is a presidency priority as youth employment has remained stubbornly high in some EU member states. Additionally, the Council will also seek to endorse the Employment Committee’s opinion on skills, jobs and youth. The opinion does not call for the prioritisation of youth over other disadvantaged groups as measures which ease unemployment generally also benefit youth. The UK supports the text.

The Council will aim to agree a partial general approach on the latest instalment of an implementing regulation for social security co-ordination Regulation 883/2004 Title IV—Financial Provisions. A continuation of the work to simplify and modernise the coordination rules by discussing implementing procedures. This presidency has covered financial provisions, in particular issues relating recovery of overpaid benefits and contributions. The UK fully supports the Council text and welcomes improved provisions for recovery.

In addition, the Council will also aim to agree a general approach on the proposal to amend the annexes to Regulation 883/2004 on the co-ordination of social security—articles 42 and 308 of the treaty. The annexes cover issues such as special rules for applying member states’ social security legislation, which parts of social security agreements between member states are still to
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be taken account of, lists of benefits that are not paid abroad and how pension calculations are to be carried out. The UK is happy that the presidency has pushed negotiations forward so well.

The Council will also seek adoption of conclusions on two further items in follow up to the Beijing platform, “Indicators in respect of the Girl Child” and “Women in political decision-making". The Slovenian presidency has chosen to work on the subject of “the Girl Child” and has produced draft Council conclusions and a report including a set of indicators. The presidency has also prepared a review report on women in political decision-making and produced draft Council conclusions, which among other things, encourage the member states and the Commission to launch quantitative and qualitative studies on the outcome of positive measures for increasing women’s access to and participation in power and decision-making, and to promote dissemination of good practices.

The Council will also seek adoption of Council conclusions on elimination of gender stereotypes in society. The conclusions among other things, call on the member states and the Commission to “continue and strengthen active co-operation with the social partners and other stakeholders in order to reduce gender segregation and gender gaps on the labour market, including by taking concrete actions to eliminate the gender pay gap and improving the recognition of the value of work in jobs and sectors predominantly occupied by women”. The UK has no objection to the draft Council conclusions.

Under ‘any other business’, there will be an oral report from the chair of the Social Protection Committee on Social Services of General Interest (following up the 2007 communication annexed to the single market review). There will also be reports from the presidency of recent presidency conferences. There will also be information from the presidency about a proposal for a Council directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for the purposes of highly qualified employment. In addition the Bulgarians will report about European social policy week which was held in Sofia 26 to 30 May 2008.

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