Website of the Austrian Social Ministry

Austrian Presedency of the Council of the European Union

Priorities pursued by the Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Affairs in the context of the Austrian Presidency of the EU Council

Logo des österreichischen Ratsvorsitzes 2018

On 1 July 2018, Austria will for the third time - after 1998 and 2006 - take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU Council Presidency).

The Federal Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Protection (Bundesministerium für Arbeit, Soziales, Gesundheit und Konsumentenschutz ,BMASGK) sees its responsibility within the framework of the Council Presidency primarily in strengthening a Union that benefits everyone and protects its citizens. The main objective pursued by the BMASGK in this context is to continue to negotiate the numerous legal acts and initiatives that have been presented in the health and social field in the best possible manner, and to reach the greatest possible consensus in order to bring them – ideally – to a successful conclusion or to achieve progress before passing them on to Romania as the next Council Presidency.

Fair working conditions for all

In the area of labour and social affairs, the topic of "digitalisation of work" will define the framework. Securing prosperity and competitiveness through digitalisation plays a central role in a "Europe that protects". Several events will thus focus on the opportunities opening up for citizens due to digitalisation and on shaping and organising digitalisation in a positive manner.

Focus on the opportunities of digitalisation

The Informal Meeting of Ministers for Employment and Social Policy on 19 and 20 July 2018 will focus on the opportunities of digitalisation and the social and labour law protection of new forms of work, with a special focus on platform work. Work facilitation and new opportunities for people with disabilities to enter the labour market will also be addressed. Another topic on the meeting’s agenda will be dealing with changes brought about by robots in the daily work of many employees.

Specialised conference on "Digitalisation of Work"

The specialised conference on "Digitalisation of Work" on 19 September 2018 will focus on quality of work as well as on working and employment conditions, with a particular view to new forms of work. Discussions will address the question of whether social protection and labour law are appropriate for people working in the platform economy, and deal with the working and employment conditions faced by platform workers. The Informal Meeting of the Social Protection Committee on 17 and 18 September 2018 and the Informal Meeting of the Employment Committee on 20 and 21 September 2018 will also focus on the opportunities, challenges, experiences and best practice models in the context of digitalisation of work.


Fighting Occupational Cancer

More than 100,000 people die of work-related cancer diseases in Europe every year. In Austria alone, the estimated number of deaths related to occupational cancer ranges at around 1,800. It is thus essential to ensure that these figures be reduced in the long term. In the context of the “Roadmap on Carcinogens from Amsterdam 2016 to Vienna 2018”, which is supported by the European Commission and the European social partners as well as the Netherlands and Austria, the conference on Fighting Occupational Cancer will bring together experts from the whole of Europe on 24 and 25 September 2018 to discuss challenges related to preventing work-related cancer in Europe.

Informal Meeting of Ministers of Health

At the Informal Meeting of Ministers of Health on 10 and 11 September 2018, the first-ever joint debate with executive representatives from the European medicines approval agencies will be held. The purpose of the discussions is, on the one hand, to address current requirements for the approval of new medicines by the approval authorities and, on the other hand, to examine the effects of central approval on actual care in the Member States. Discussions at the meeting will also focus on how EU funding can be used to invest in a new generation of digital healthcare infrastructures at the healthcare provider level.


Specialised Conference: „People’s Food – People’s Health"

At the specialised conference "People's Food - People's Health. Towards healthy and sustainable European Food Systems" on 22 and 23 November 2018, the nutrition system along the food value chain will be comprehensively examined. The focus will be placed on developing strategies aimed at fully tapping into the positive potential of healthy lifestyles, particularly with regard to nutritional care, and reducing nutritional health risks across the EU. In this context, the European nutrition system should seek to facilitate health-promoting behaviour. On the first day of the conference, best practice examples from various European countries will be presented and discussed. On the second day, the most important results and findings will be applied in various workshop groups.  

The following dossiers will be dealt with by the BMASGK under the Austrian Presidency:

  • Amendments to the regulations on coordination of social security systems
  • Directive on Work-Life Balance
  • Directive on an employer's obligation to inform employees of the conditions applicable to the contract or employment relationship
  • Workers' Protection/Amendment to the Carcinogens Directive 2004/37/EC (Directive on the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work)
  • Regulation on the European Labour Authority
  • Recommendation on access to social protection for workers and the self-employed
  • Revision of the founding regulations of the agencies (Eurofound and EU-OSHA)
  • European Accessibility Act - EAA
  • Article 19 Directive
  • Directive on Women on Supervisory Boards (Directive on improving the gender balance among non-executive directors of companies listed on stock exchanges and related measures)
  • Regulation on the European Social Fund Plus (ESF+)
  • Regulation on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF)
  • Proposal for a Regulation on Health Technology Assessment
  • Council Recommendation on Vaccinations (Council Recommendation on strengthened cooperation against vaccine preventable diseases)
  • Modernisation of existing rules on veterinary medicinal products (part of the Animal Medicines Package)
  • General Food Law Regulation
  • Revision of the Drinking Water Directive (Directive on the quality of water intended for human consumption)
  • Spirit Drinks Regulation (Regulation on the definition, description, presentation, labelling and the protection of geographical indications of spirit drinks)