The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a conference in cooperation with the future Slovak Presidency of the EU Council and the active participation of the Slovak EESC Members, in Bratislava on 14th June 2016. The speakers included:
Georges Dassis, EESC President
Ján Richter, Slovak Minister for Labour, Social Affairs and the Family
Ivan Korčok, Ministre délégué for the Slovak Presidency of the Council of the EU
Mikuláš Luptáčik, Dean of the Faculty of national economy at the University of Economics in Bratislava
Denis Meynent, EESC Member, part of the study group "Changing employment relations"
"Focusing only on growth leads to misery for citizens. We should not forget about people in favour of numbers. The gains in productivity over the past few years have not led to increased financial wellbeing - and it is crucial to address this uneven wealth distribution", said the EESC President Georges Dassis in his opening remarks.
Minister Ján Richter said, "New employment relations require higher flexibility, but social protection cannot be sacrificed for flexibility's sake. Industry 4.0 means progress; but revolutions do not only have winners - and to protect citizens, we need to define new employment relations. Employment no longer leads to social certainty; we need to define what skills and professions will not be needed in the future to adapt to the current economy."
The Ministre délégué, Ivan Korčok, listed the Slovak Presidency's priorities: strengthening the European economy using existing tools, addressing migration and trade (namely the TTIP and CETA agreements), and the Energy Union. "We need to overcome fragmentation in the EU - in political agendas, the internal market, the economic and monetary union, youth unemployment, the north and south divide; and bring about tangible results. During our Presidency of the Council, it is vital that we reach out to stakeholders who build bridges between institutions and citizens, like the EESC", he said.
Dean Mikuláš Luptáčik presented the Welfare, Wealth and Work for Europe new economic and industrial policy. During his intervention, he highlighted three strategic goals necessary to achieve well-being: environmental sustainability, social inclusion and economic dynamics, including growth and productivity.
EESC Member Denis Meynent presented the EESC opinion "The changing nature of employment relationships and its impact on maintaining a living wage". He discussed the challenges presented by the dynamic changes in types of work and contracts. Mr. Meynent reiterated the EESC's call to develop the European pillar of social rights in order to remove any grey areas and adapt the social model.
The conference was held in the context of a meeting of the EESC bureau and aimed to launch a close cooperation between the EESC and the Slovak Presidency of the EU Council. The topic "Impact of technological change on the social security system and labour law" was requested by the Presidency, indicating its focus, among others, on the European Pillar of Social Rights.