On 6 January, the Danish EU Presidency announced its agenda “Europe at Work”, which is centred on promoting “a more responsible, more dynamic, greener and safer Europe” in 2012. The Presidency aims to work towards “a strong European economy, revitalised growth in the EU and for a stronger EU that effectively addresses the problems that occupy Europe’s citizens and enterprises on a daily basis.”

In the area of social policy the Danish Ministry for Social Affairs and Integration has highlighted that the Presidency will aim to balance the challenges created by the economic and financial crisis, including high unemployment rates (which could leave an entire generation outside the labour market) and a shortage of labour due to a rapidly ageing European population.

As such, social priorities of the Presidency include:

  • Active ageing and solidarity between the generations – discovering ways to motivate the older generation to stay longer on the labour market and to live a healthy, autonomous and dignified life. In addition, the Presidency will initiate discussion on how modern technological aids can make life easier for older people and for people with disabilities, so that their resources can be used for the benefit of society.
  • Youth in education and on the labour market – there is a need to support young people by working towards better links between education and employment in order to reduce the rate of early school leaving, enhance opportunities for learning mobility and stabilise youth unemployment rates
  • Promoting equal opportunities for all and combating poverty – including disabled and marginalised people

Furthermore, the key priorities for the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council during the Presidency will be to promote:

  • health that creates increased growth and welfare in Europe;
  • an employment policy that addresses current challenges, especially youth unemployment, as well as more long-term challenges regarding the strengthening of labour supply;
  • and a social policy that creates equal opportunities for all.

You can read more on the social policy in Denmark here.