On Wednesday and Thursday, Tallinn Creative Hub will host the informal meeting of ministers of employment, social affairs, family and gender equality (EPSCO), which will be followed by the informal meeting of health ministers (EPSCO) taking place on Thursday and Friday.
Over the next three days, the EU ministers will focus on work-life balance, the reduction of damage caused by alcohol as well as digital innovations in the healthcare field, according to a presidency press release.
During the first two days of meetings, which will be directed by Minister of Health and Labour Jevgeni Ossinovski (SDE) and Minister of Social Protection Kaia Iva (IRL), ministers of employment, social affairs, family and gender equality will discuss topics related to work-life balance, including more equally distributing the care load between partners. Europe is faced with the challenges of an aging and shrinking population, one of the consequences of which is a labor shortage. People of working age are also often the ones responsible for the care of children, aging parents and relatives with special needs alike, which is why it is crucial to find solutions for maintaining an effective work-life balance.
One primary issue will be how to encourage men and women to more equally distribute care load, as according to the EU average, 19.2 percent of women are inactive on the labor market due to care load, while just 1.9 percent of men are inactive on the labor market for the same reason. Changed work and family models must also be taken into account.
During the second set of meetings, which will take place on Thursday and Friday and be led by Minister of Health and Labour Jegveni Ossinovski (SDE), EU health ministers will focus on the free movement of health data and alcohol policy.
A digital Europe and the free movement of data is one of the priorities of Estonia's presidency of the Council of the EU. The comprehensive use of health data combined with the adoption of new technologies supports both people's health and the sutainability of healthcare systems. Access to and the sharing of data is also necessary for research and innovation.
The EU's health ministers will discuss how people can securely and comfortably control and manage the use of their health information, as well as the upcoming years' EU-level direction and activities which could help create favorable conditions for the development and adoption of new digital solutions.
The ministers will also discuss the latest developments in and future plans for alcohol policy on both member state and EU levels, with particular attention to be paid to cross-border aspects of alcohol policy. The goal of the meeting is to identify the primary bottlenecks being faced by member states implementing alcohol-related policies, such as cross-border advertising, including in digital media, cross-border trade and the labeling of alcoholic beverages.
Editor: Aili Vahtla