Photo: Kiril Konstantinov (EU2018BG)
EU employment and social policy ministers held an informal meeting in Sofia on 17 and 18 April 2018. The ministers called on Member States to continue their efforts to actively support employment opportunities for vulnerable groups, while noting that the current stable economic growth in the European Union has led to a lasting improvement in the labour market situation.
“Repeating that we need to bring the Union closer to the citizens is not enough,”
said Biser Petkov, Minister of Labour and Social Policy of the Republic of Bulgaria.
“We must offer a reliable and long-term direction so that we can retain the trust of the citizens in our Union. At this moment of stable economic growth, we need to take the time to think about the future we want because the labour market situation is evolving rapidly in the context of the digital society and economy and the changing labour reality creates different needs."
The meeting addressed the following topics:
- Applying the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights to achieve equal employment opportunities,
- Enhancing workforce skills and knowledge, and
- Integrating young people and the long-term unemployed into the labour market.
The ministers analysed the current implementation of the Council Recommendation on enhancing workforce qualification and re-training and creating new employment opportunities for the older generation, the young and the long-term unemployed.
“In today's world where digital technology increasingly influences the economy and the society, the availability of a wide range of knowledge, skills and competences is key to labour market entry and development,”
said Minister Biser Petkov.
The ministers also discussed the need to strengthen the social dimension of the EU in order to continue strengthening social cohesion. They also examined how current policies and instruments could be improved to meet the principles set out in the European Pillar of Social Rights.
Bulgaria presented its implementation of the European Youth Guarantee, which aims to ensure a smooth school-to-work transition and help young people integrate into the labour market. Together with the social partners, the meeting participants discussed the contribution of the social dialogue to income growth and the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.