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Updated Social Agenda seeks new confidence in EU

brussels bureau

Updated Social Agenda seeks new confidence in EU


Proving that people’s everyday problems count in the EU, patients would be allowed to receive non-hospital treatment outside their home country without pre-approval from their health authority. The European Commission says its proposed package proves that citizens are among the EU’s foremost concerns, and not just policies for big companies.

Yet the European Consumers’ Organisation’s Ilaria Passarani points out one of the pitfalls: “It is extremely important that those who are sent abroad or those who seek healthcare abroad are informed that if something goes wrong they will be obliged to go in front of a court in another country, and use another language and hire a lawyer and a translator to do that.”

A second law proposed by the European Commission seeks to stop discrimination outside work on grounds of age, sexual orientation, disability and religion or belief. That discrimination at work is already illegal.

The “Renewed Social Agenda” comes three weeks
after Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty reforming the EU, because the bloc was seen as unable to protect people from globalisation threats.

The Commission also proposed strengthening the role of pan-EU works councils in big multinational companies. Employers’ groups objected to this, saying it would make decision-making slower.

More EU aid funds were also proposed to help Roma gypsies. The bill will now be considered by the 27 EU governments and the European Parliament.

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