Bulgaria to be part of the European Pillar of Social Rights draft project - this united all the participants in the discussion on the outline of the European Commission for establishing an European Pillar of Social Rights. The discussion was organised by the Economic and Social Council (ESC) of Bulgaria in partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). The meeting was attended by over a hundred representatives of various civil society organizations, EESC members, members of the Bulgarian ESC, representatives of the academics. The discussion took place in Sofia Hotel Balkan and the Minister of Labour and Social Policy Mrs. Zornitsa Rusinova and Dr. Hasan Ademov, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Labour, Social and Demographic Policy participated in the opening of the event.
The outline, presented earlier this year by the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, sparked a broad discussion on main three topics: equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions, appropriate and sustainable social protection. The main topic in the statements of the employers, trade unions and representatives of the various civil society organizations was that Europe needed a new modern project which to reflect all the changes brought about by the rapid development of new technologies, new phenomena such as shared economy and hence the new working conditions and requirements for adequate quality education, flexibility of professional skills and competences, new labour standards, for working hours, place of work, etc.
Concrete proposals for upgrading the outline presented by EC were made during the debate. Prof. Lalko Dulevski – President of ESC, proposed the guarantee of the right of any child of quality education through obligations of the institutions and the parents’ responsibility to be formulated in the European document as well as the long-term care to be considered as social insurance risk and uniform minimum standards for quality healthcare to be adopted.
Prof. Maria Sotirova underlined that social rights should be guaranteed but not onlywished and for that reason collective bargaining should also be a principle that would guarantee the social rights of every person and better income. The difference in income is actually the worst problem of cohesion in Europe, she said.
Bojidar Danev, Member of the European Economic and Social Committee and Executive Chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Association stressed that in our digital age and sharing economy, the differences between qualified and low qualified employees will increase and therefore a new approach in education is needed. He highlighted also the need of extensive researches and economic development forecasts without which it is impossible to have prognostications for education needed.
The link between social rights and economic development was also outlined by Plamen Dimitrov – Member of the European Economic and Social Committee and President ofthe Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria. He considers that it is necessary to integrate the European Pilar of Social Rights with the European Semester as to be reconciled the economic and social development through a permanent monitoring. It is necessary also minimum standards for rights and social protection to be imposed through this Pilar, he said.
Today’s debate is being organized in 27 Member States on EESC’s initiative and the outcomes will serve as the basis of the development of European Pilar of Social Rights.