More than 100 representatives from different governmental institutions and civil organizations, members of the Economic and Social Council, representatives of the academic circles, experts as well as the EESC Vice-President Mrs Irini Pari and the Representative of the World Bank in Bulgaria Mr. Florian Fichtl participated in the Conference “Combating poverty and social exclusion – a public consensus for a new effective policy”, held on 28 May 2010. It was organized by the Economic and Social Council (ESC) and was intended to trigger a broad public debate for shaping a long-term vision for combating poverty and social exclusion through shared responsibility among the state institutions, social partners and the non-governmental sector.

The conference was opened by Prof. Lalko Dulevski PhD., President of the ESC. He stressed on the importance of public consensus on settling the poverty-related social issues. Prof. Dulevski declared the position of the ESC that the elaboration and implementation of a national policy intended to preclude the risk of social exclusion and to promote employment and increase in incomes. An expression of this intention is the adopted by the Council analysis, entitled "Tackling poverty in Bulgaria”.

On behalf of the Sofia Municipality Mr. Minko Gerdzhikov, Deputy Mayor, expressed a concern and political will for overcoming the social challenges related to the poverty. He noted that in recent years the social sphere has became leading issue in the municipal policy as illustrated by the repeated increases in municipal budget for social activities.

Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Policy Mrs. Valentina Simeonova also highlighted the strategic nature of overcoming poverty, emphasizeing that by the end of the year a draft national strategy in this area should be prepared and it should be supplemented by 28 regional strategies. Mrs. Simeonova expressed the firm intention and willingness of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy to use the analyses and consultations with the ESC on studying the reasons and the scope of the issue concerning poverty and social exclusion in Bulgaria.

In her speech Mrs. Irini Pari, the Vice President of the EESC, stressed on the guidelines of the European policy at a Community level and on those issues whose priority is the establishment of preconditions for social inclusion. In the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy she clearly determined the three priority groups to which the anti-poverty policy should be geared, these are the unemployed, the families suffering material deprivation and groups at risk of poverty. Mrs. Pari pointed out the importance of determining not only the community goals, but also individual targets for each country according to the national specifics in solving the problems of poverty.

Mr Florian Fichtl, Permanent Representative of the World Bank in Бulgaria summarised the challenges related to poverty and social exclusion in times of crisis and stressed upon the grave risk of impoverishment and long-term poverty to which the minority groups in this country are exposed. He presented the main priorities and problem areas connected with the social risk of poverty. In this aspect was also the speech of Mrs. Hristina Hristova, NMSS’ Chairperson, who outlined the problem areas of the Bulgarian national social policy and the guidelines for its better application in accordance to the public needs. She turned special attention to the guaranteed minimum income for overcoming poverty and promoting flexible forms of employment and retraining. Mr. Plamen Dimitrov, member of the ESC and Vice-President of CITUB, developed the thesis presented. He spoke in detail on the minimum wage and the methodology and on the principles of determining the guaranteed minimum income in Bulgaria.

Associated Prof. Mariana Kotseva, President of NSI, presented the aspects of the statistical work related to the recruitment of reliable and accurate information on the existence and the measurement of poverty. She stressed on the importance of a clear methodology for defining poverty as a prerequisite for conducting good and efficient policies in this regard.

Associated Prof. Duhomir Minev, President of the European Anti-Poverty Network in Bulgaria, made a thorough analysis of the causes and the dimensions of poverty and social exclusion in the context of both the current global crisis and the economic restructuring in Bulgaria in the last 20 years. Mr. Boyan Zahariev from the Open Society Institute, outlined the macroeconomic aspects of poverty, indicating inequality of income distribution and labor productivity as a key issue for the dynamics of poverty.

Closing the conference, Prof. Dulevski noted that this forum is the first step towards the creation of a new effective anty-poverty policy in the country, which should be extended as a composition and subject.



is the “bridge” between citizens and the national government. Its mission is to support such “bridging” so as to facilitate the communication between the society and the national government. It is the new and modern institution of the civil dialogue.

The ESC's mission is to promote civil society organisations access to and involvement in the process of decision-making on strategic economic and social issues.

The main goal of ESC's operation is to enable different representatives of organised civil society to feel free to state their views whereas unanimity on matters of common interest is encouraged. The Council expresses and protects civil society interests by communicating agreed statements and proposals submitted by its members to the executive and legislative authorities.

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