The Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on the economy of wellbeing at the second Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council under Finland’s Presidency on 24 October. The meeting was chaired by Aino-Kaisa Pekonen, Minister of Social Affairs and Health, and Timo Harakka, Minister of Economic Affairs and Employment.
The idea behind the economy of wellbeing is to place the emphasis on the wellbeing of people rather than focusing solely on the economy. This brings many benefits to both individual people and society at large.
The Finnish ministers emphasise the need to enhance the wellbeing perspective in the European Semester for economic policy coordination. The Council conclusions set out a number of concrete measures in areas such as occupational safety and health, gender equality, mental health and disability policy. The ministers wish to strengthen the assessment of the impacts of EU legislation and economic policy measures on wellbeing.
“We would like to share with decision-makers in the EU the insight that investing in people’s wellbeing helps put economic growth on a sustainable basis. This also increases the stability of society,” says Minister Pekonen.
Commission invited to present long-term strategy integrating economy of wellbeing perspective
The economy of wellbeing contributes to the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights and helps the EU achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
In its conclusions, the Council calls on the European Commission and the Member States to integrate a cross-sectoral economy of wellbeing perspective into all policy areas. There is a need for more collaboration and better understanding between different policy fields. This means basing all policies on sound information concerning people’s wellbeing.
The EU needs a new long-term strategy that incorporates the economy of wellbeing. The Council also calls on the Commission to issue a Communication on the topic.
Moreover, the Council calls on both the Member States and the Commission to promote cross-sectoral collaboration and an enhanced focus on employment, social, health and education policies within the European Semester process.
Economy of wellbeing a Finnish priority
The economy of wellbeing is one of the principal themes of Finland’s Presidency. The Council conclusions will create a basis for further work on the concept.
Jiri Sironen, Special Adviser, tel. +358 295 163 410
Veli-Mikko Niemi, Director-General, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, tel. +358 2951 63425
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