§ Mr. Hood
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what the outcome was of the Employment and Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council on 20 October 2003; what the Government's stance was on the issues discussed, including its voting record; and if he will make a statement. 
. Friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Competition and Consumers (Mr. Sutcliffe), represented the UK at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council in Luxembourg on 20 October 2003.
The Council held a public debate on the Commission Communication on Immigration, Integration and Employment.
The UK stated that immigration alone would not solve Europe's demographic problem and that the Employment Strategy provided the appropriate framework for improving the participation of immigrants in the labour market. Several delegations argued that member states should meet their demand for additional labour from national and European sources before seeking immigrants from outside the EU.
On integrating immigrants, the UK stressed the need to provide language, skills and citizenship training for recent and next generation immigrants to prevent social exclusion and burdens on the public purse and argued that a job was the best means of social integration.
The Council adopted Conclusions on the open method of co-ordination of adequate and sustainable pensions. There will be a progress report to the Council on 1 December 2003 about pensions indicators.
The Council reached political agreement on a Directive protecting workers from the risks from exposure to electromagnetic fields and waves, as well as on the decision to renew the spending programme to prevent and combat violence against women, young people and children (Daphne II). The UK supported both decisions.
The Council agreed an orientation towards political agreement on Chapters 7 and 8 of Regulation 1408/71 on social security coordination. The chapters cover pre-retirement benefits and family benefits.
The Council agreed an orientation towards a political agreement on a Regulation amending Regulation 1408/71 to align provisions in readiness for the launch of European Health Card in June 2004.
The Council approved the opinion of the Social Protection Committee on a Commission Communication on streamlining open co-ordination in the field of social protection.
The Council adopted without discussion a resolution on transforming undeclared work into regular employment in the context of the European Employment Strategy, and a resolution encouraging member states to consider the provision of various services for victims of trafficking.
Under Any Other Business, the Belgians presented a short paper on Growth and Competitiveness.
No Health or Consumer Affairs items were on the agenda.
No votes were taken at this Council.