At the beginning of July 2008 the European Commission outlined a package of new social policy and employment law initiatives.

The proposals outlined in the so-called “Renewed Social Agenda” have been put together in an attempt to respond to the combined challenges of globalisation, rapid technological change and an ageing European population.

Amongst other things the Commission intends to introduce new Directives to improve the functioning of European Works Councils and to combat discrimination in the provision of goods and services. It also announced plans for new legislative proposals in September 2008 designed to further improve the work/life balance of EU citizens by enhancing parental leave arrangements, introducing new forms of leave and strengthening protection for pregnant women.