The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)

YMGE 2018

Chair Letter

Howdy Delegates,

I would first like to start off by saying welcome to YMGE! I know we are going to have an exciting conference and I look forward to meeting every one of you.

My name is Rene Olivarez and I am currently a junior at Yale University. I am a chemistry major with a specialization in chemical biology. I am originally from South Texas; coming to Budapest is definitely a well-received change of pace. On campus I am involved with the Yale International Relations Association as a chair for a variety of other conferences like YMUN and SCSY. Along with that I am also on MUNTY which is Yale’s competitive Model UN team. I am also a member of the Tory Party in the Yale Political Union and am a STEM and campus tour guide!

I am excited to see where our debate leads us as we traverse through the various crises that await us. I really enjoy the art of public speaking and how each person has their own individual style of doing so. Personally, I enjoy the theatrics of Model UN and when delegates get really invested and creative with the work we are doing. The crises that await us will truly be exciting, and I can’t wait to see how each of you handle the situation!

Once again I look forward to meeting all of you and seeing where committee takes us. If you have any questions do not hesitate to email me at rene.olivarez@yale.edu Enjoy the topic!

See you in November,

Rene Olivarez

Council Purpose

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO) is a part of the Council of the European Union. The main goal and purpose of this council is to raise the standard and quality of life of all citizens living within the European Union. They seek to maintain consumer health and that there is an adequate standard of living for its citizens. Along with that the council aims to protect workplace equality and that all members of the European Union are able to find and maintain jobs with equal status to all living within the EU. In doing so, they also aim to insure that there are jobs available for individuals looking for work and that there is not a shortage of jobs which would lead to mass unemployment throughout the European Union. This last measure is especially important because it prevents individuals who are at risk of not having a job and individuals who will soon be of working age from not having any job.

All of the measures that EPSCO takes are to maintain the productivity of the European Union. The members are all responsible for drafting legislation that is crucial to marinating a strong base of healthy, working citizens that are able to insure that the European Union can continue to compete with the rest of the world. To insure that this legislation is drafted, the council meets 4 times a year to discuss the various affairs throughout the European Union. Two of these meetings are especially devoted to employment and social policy topics. This is done because it is crucial that both employment and social policy stay up to date in order to compete in this world. Various factors affect both of these aspects of the workplace and without proper guidance there could be disastrous consequences for the European Union. These meetings that occur twice a year all aim to focus on high-quality jobs and a high level of social and health protection and the protection of consumers' interests.

Employment:

With the recent surge of technology in the workplace, EPSCO has been sure to adopt all the necessary equipment in order to stay updated. Because of this a major focus has been digitalization and converting a majority of employment information into a format that can easily be shared amongst a variety of people. This process has been proven to improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace. No longer are members of the EU restricted to a physical format.

This focus has led to a change in the way employment in the European Union. They now focus more on “Platform-based working”, which focuses on systematic reuse of information and products. They use hardware that is compatible with one another to insure that the information can easily be transcribed across a variety of platforms and is accessible to all. This “Platform-based working" is also effective in reducing costs and risks for those involved, making it a very effective system to use. The current president of the EPSCO hopes to focus on using the “Platform-based working” to improve work and employment conditions, as well as, social and labor law.

To implement these various programs and new systems, EPSCO meets with various NGO’s that specialize in employment and digitalization in order to discuss solutions to problems and future innovations. The key results from these talks then go back to the council in order to further discuss them and decide which will be implemented. It is crucial to realize that NGO’s are a very important aspect in achieving your various objectives. Utilizing them to their maximum potential will be important in solving the crisis that may arise.

The most recent directive that the council has been focusing on has to do with transparent and predictable working conditions for all. This proposal seeks to establish new minimum rights for workers, and defend those who are involved with dangerous forms of work. This new proposal also looks for regular updates on workers information to make sure that no worker goes under the radar. This is also key to maintain an adequate level of protection for all workers and insure that no one is being taken advantage of.

Lastly, the employment aspect is looking into work-life balance for parents with careers. Millions of members of the EU consist of families, and insuring that all members of the family are able to have a balance between work and life is crucial to keeping citizens both happy and satisfied with their lives. Keeping a satisfied community not only insures the success of future generations but keeps productivity high.

Social Policy:

It is very important that the EU keeps a very strict hold on social policy in order to include all members of the EU and not alienate any one group of people. EPSCO has continued to follow the equal treatment directive, which aims to insure equal treatment of all workers within the European Union no matter their race, gender, social class or status in society. Having such a directive allows for a progressive society that can properly utilize all members to their full potential, without discrediting any one group based on factors that they cannot control.

The council also constantly aims to improve upon and modernize EU social security coordination rules. The importance of these rules is because it provides all members of the EU certain protections when they travel throughout the EU for work. One of the major benefits that comes from a partnership like the EU is that it allows for citizens to freely move to work and provide services to other countries within the EU. This free movement would not be possible if the EU social security coordination rules did not exist. These rules provide the members with the following rights:

  • Look for another job in an EU country

  • Work there without needing a work permit

  • Reside there for that purpose

  • Stay there even after employment has finished

  • Enjoy equal treatment as nationals in access to employment

These rights insure that living and working in a country that is not your native one is not a disadvantage. In doing this, the council seeks to coordinate all national systems of work within the EU. Rather than having them all clash and have different laws with work, this system unites them and creates a singular EU system. These social security systems are the responsibility of the member states’ and allows them to coordinate who is entering and working in the country. The coordination rules apply to the following cases:

  • Sickness maternity and equivalent paternity benefits

  • Old-age pensions, pre-retirement and invalidity benefits

  • Survivors’ benefits and death grants

  • Unemployment benefits

  • Family benefits

  • Benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases

The member states are given the responsibility to provide the necessary action for all the aforementioned items.

Coordination rules are put in place to make sure that no member of the EU is without protection, but it also makes sure that no member has double coverage in two different countries. These rules aim to increase fairness in moving throughout the EU and also make sure to shut down any fraud attempts by people who are trying to gain the benefits in multiple EU member nations. Doing all of this creates a much fairer internal market that keeps regulations on where citizens are moving throughout the EU. These are the four principals that make the social security system function properly:

  • One country only: citizens are covered by the legislation of one country at a time so they only pay contribution in one country

  • Equal treatment: citizens have the same rights and obligations as the nationals of the country where they are covered

  • Aggregation: when citizens claim a benefit, their previous periods of insurance, work or residents in other countries are taken into account if necessary

  • Exportability: citizens entitled to a cash benefit from one country, may generally receive it even if they are living in in a different country

All of these rules and regulations are crucial during times of crisis. It is during those struggles where having these systems in place helps save as many people as possible and insure that they have jobs and can find work outside of their own country. Not only that, but it allows for people to not have the fear that they will be mistreated in a country that is not their own and still receive the same benefits as everyone else.

Health:

Keeping citizens in the EU healthy is among one of the top priorities for the EPSOC. Having a healthy population insures that the productivity of the EU remains high, as there is a larger percent of healthy individuals who are able to work. Along with that, a healthy population means that there is less of a chance that there will be any major viral or bacterial outbreaks that could devastate population centers. To maintain this, the EU insures that its members are properly vaccinated and that there is access to information regarding various diseases. Sanitation also plays an important role, as keeping areas clean and sanitary helps to prevent the spread of many diseases throughout the EU.

As of recent the EPSCO has wanted to have a health technology assessment (HTA) in order to see the status on all its citizens and what health measures need to be taken. This assessment will also be responsible for testing the clinical effectiveness of certain medicines and tests that are conducted within the EU. Having this assessment will make sure that resources are being properly utilized and outdated procedures or medicines will not be used any longer. This helps to save money throughout the EU, as well as, promote job growth in the areas that need more specialization or resources.

The HTA works in a way where it compares current medicines to new ones that are being developed. If these new medicines prove to be successful and more potent than the existing medicines, then they are used to replace the existing drugs. The HTA also checks on the side effects that come with the medicine and any other potentially harmful effects that they could have. In doing all these procedures, the HTA is able to assess which drugs are going to give the best quality of life for the consumers living within the EU.

The HTA is not just limited on medicine, as it also assess the use of new technology and the procedures that come with it. It assess the cost to both the health care provider and the patient. This method has been described as a “Multidisciplinary process that reviews the medical, economic, organizational, social and ethical issues related to the use of a health technology in a systematic manner. Having such a comprehensive plan helps to eliminate all ineffective procedures and drugs, while at the same time, allowing for the newest and most effective products to be provided to all members within the EU.

The HTA also uses a resource called the HTA Network, which connects national authorities together through the HTA. This allows for easy contact to be made with all people involved with the HTA so there is an easy method to share and save information throughout the EU.

The EPSCO also recommends that all nations within the EU follow the recommendation for all citizens to take the required vaccines. This recommendation is used to make sure that all people living within the EU can be part of the initiative to prevent all vaccine preventable diseases. Around 100 million children around the world are vaccinated to prevent diseases. Recently, the EU has been facing some outbreaks of vaccine preventable diseases within the EU as well as in neighboring countries. This is due to a wide variety of economic problems and the insufficient supply of vaccines in poorer regions. As a committee, it is crucial to think of ways to prevent this problem from happening.

Questions to Consider

It is important to consider the role that EPSCO has in the context of the EU. EPSCO only focuses on one specific aspect of the EU, so thinking about the role they play in the larger context would be important to consider.

It is also very important to consider the other committees that are related to EPSCO. Working with other committees will play a crucial role when handling the problems that await you all, and knowing who to collaborate with will be very important. Do not see yourselves as just one isolated committee, but rather a member of a team, who needs to rely on other members for help. Collaboration will play to your benefit.

Lastly it is important to consider the scope of EPSCO. Know exactly what they can and can’t do and where their jurisdiction ends. Having a deep grasp of this will allow for meaning actions to be taken.

Further Research

I would recommend looking into problems that have been facing the EU and what actions were taken by EPSCO in response to them. In doing this you will better able to apply those strategies in committee and solve the crises that are presented. I would also look at annual EU reports from EPSCO and see what current topics are hot with EPSCO.

In general I would also look at problems that the world is facing currently and how they apply to EPSCO. Don’t just focus on the EU, but worldwide crises. It would also be helpful to research similar organizations that exist outside of the EU. See how similar organizations are able to handle situations that are relevant to their own country. Getting different perspectives is very helpful in providing further insight.  

Lastly, I would recommend looking into problems that are facing the EU and the world today. While I cannot tell you what the crisis will be, I would recommend being ready for anything.