§ Ms Jowell
I represented the Secretary of State at this meeting of the Council.
The Council discussed the employment package for the second time. Further discussion will take place at the Employment and Social Affairs Council and the Joint Council with ECOFIN on 29 November. A final version of the package is due for submission to the Helsinki European Council on 11–12 December.
The majority of the Council supported the joint Opinion of the Employment and Labour Market Committee and the Economic Policy Committee which advocated minimum change to this year's Guidelines.
The Presidency said that the text of the Joint Employment Report was now largely agreed. The Commission agreed to continue its efforts to address UK concerns over references which appear to misrepresent UK policy and were unacceptable to the UK in a text that was to be jointly agreed.
The Presidency agreed to examine any requests of delegations for further changes to their recommendations, but would do so in a manner compatible with the principles contained in the joint Opinion of the Employment and Labour Market Committee and the Economic Policy Committee.