Working towards a more social Europe and reducing the wage and development gap among Member States through the European Pillar of Social Rights was the topic of discussion at a European high-level tripartite conference on the European Pillar on Social Rights, which took place on 27 June 2018 at the National Palace of Culture in Sofia. The conference continued the debate on strengthening the social dimension of Europe in the context of the discussions on the EU i budget for the next programming period (2021-2027).
The event was the last one out of a series of more than 20 events that addressed crucial social issues within the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency. It gathered ministers, representatives of trade unions and employers’ organisations from all Member States and European institutions as well as European social partners and the non-governmental sector.
The discussions focused on the future of the cohesion policy and the European Social Fund and reviewed the implementation of the policies of the European Pillar of Social Rights a year after it was proclaimed by the European Commission. The conference participants also discussed the financial resources needed to support the implementation of the Pillar and the Multiannual Financial Framework.
“Following heated debates at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs (EPSCO) Council in Luxemburg on 21 June we reached a general approach on three legislative proposals that are key to the European Pillar of Social Rights”, said Biser Petkov, Minister of Labour and Social Policy of Bulgaria. “We agreed on the adoption of the directives on work-life balance, transparent and predictable working conditions and the revision of the Social Security Coordination Regulations - three important steps towards a more social Europe that guarantees citizens' rights”,
Mr Petkov said.
“The Bulgarian Presidency has been extremely successful”,
said Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Mobility and Social Affairs.
“The results it achieved in regard to the realisation of the principles and rights of the Pillar are remarkable. Putting them into practice is the joint responsibility of all— the European Commission, the Member States, the social partners and the civil society”,
Deputy Minister Zornitsa Roussinova reviewed the Bulgarian experience in implementing the principles of the Pillar.
“The European Social Fund (ESF) is the key instrument for the implementation of the principles and analyses prove that each euro invested by the ESF in the last programming period would lead to an increase of GDP of roughly three euros by 2023”, she said. “The ESF enabled Bulgaria to increase its labour market investment by 60 %. These investments have reached a big share of economically inactive people, people with disabilities and ethnic minority groups”,
Ms Roussinova underlined.