At its meeting held on January 30, the Plenary Session of the Economic and Social Council (ESC) adopted a resolution on the “Key ESC positions on the review of the Europe 2020 Strategy implementation in Bulgaria”. Within the discussion of the draft act participation was taken by Mrs. Marinela Petrova, Director of the Economic and Financial Policy Directorate and team experts responsible for updating the National Reform Programme. They expressed their satisfaction with the duly expressed ESC position with regard to the upcoming review of the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives in May and the possibility for changes in the national objectives of Bulgaria.

Also, Mrs. Petrova presented to the ESC members the new aspects in the schedule for elaboration and adoption of the National Reform Programme of the Republic of Bulgaria - 2015 update, in fulfillment of the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives, which enable the civil society representatives to participate more in the process as well as the sufficient time for taking into consideration their positions.

All the ESC members welcomed the process of rationalization of the European Semester and the earlier publishing of a such report in regard to the country-specific recommendations, which was one of the ESC proposals expressed consistently in several acts adopted in 2013 and 2014. Moreover, they declared their willingness to participate actively in the consultation process for adoption of the National Reform Programme.

The adopted resolution outlines the main findings and challenges in terms of the structure, coordination and effectiveness of the Europe 2020 Strategy implementation. With this resolution the ESC also makes a review on the implementation of all five national objectives of Bulgaria and makes specific recommendations to revise or supplement the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives. Furthermore, important Council recommendation is the appeal to the institutions in the preparation of the National Reform Programmes for seeking more partnership between all levels of government.

The ESC one again insists on the basis of analysis and evaluation of the implementation of the main Europe 2020 Strategy objectives to be discussed the possibility for supplementing some of them with sub-objectives and monitoring indicators. In particular, the ESC recommends:

1. The employment objective is to be reconsidered mostly, which is estimated as impracticable - 76% employment rate among the population aged 20-64 by 2020; sub-objectives to be set which take into account the level of youth employment and unemployment.

2. Also, the ESC proposes the education objectives to be revised, in particular the objective of early school leaving. It should be more ambitious than the declared value (below 11% by 2020), since the reduction of early school leaving, and subsequently the quality of labour force, is relevant to the fight against poverty - as one of the Europe 2020 Strategy objectives.

3. In regard to the objective - level of R&D investment to 1.5% of the GDP by 2020 - our country has defined a value over two times lower than the EU average of 3%. However, according to the ESC this value is quite ambitious and unachievable, given the considerable lagging behind of our country in 2013 (0.64%) and the provided limited public contribution for R&D investment over the next five years outside the European funds.



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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