§ Mr. Rammell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what was the outcome of the Labour and Social Affairs Council held in Luxembourg on 22 October; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Jowell
I represented the UK at this meeting of the Council.
The Council was dominated by discussion of the employment package. Discussion will continue during November, with a final version of the package due for submission to the Helsinki European Council on 11-12 December.
The Council welcomed the Commission's proposals for amendments to the Employment Guidelines for 2000. On Commission proposals for Council recommendations on the implementation of member states' employment policies, the UK led a discussion which sought to ensure support for the principle of recommendations. The majority of the Council members endorsed this approach.
The Council heard a progress report from the Presidency on a draft Council decision to establish the Employment Committee. The Presidency also reported on the negotiations for a Community programme to promote the social integration of refugees.
The Council agreed conclusions welcoming a new action programme to promote equality between men and women and conclusions noting a Presidency report on member states' implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action.
The Commission Communication on a strategy for modernising social protection was warmly welcomed by most member states.