Today, January 14st 2016, begins the two-day official visit of Georges Dassis in Sofia, who is President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC). This is his first official visit at the invitation of a national Economic and Social Council of an EU Member State after he was elected as an EESC President at the end of 2015. The invitation was made by the President of the Economic and Social Council (ESC) of Bulgaria Prof. Lalko Dulevski.

At the official ceremony in Sheraton Hotel George Dassis was bestowed by the ESC with Honourary Award for Contribution to the Development of Organised Civil Society in Bulgaria. The award was given by Prof. Lalko Dulevski during the meeting of the EESC President with the Bulgarian ESC members, who stated: The award I am bestowing upon you, on behalf of the ESC members, is of the people who stay permanently behind the civil society in Bulgaria and it is their assessment to you, Mr. Dassis. We appreciate that your first visit as an EESC President is in Bulgaria and I think this would give more impetus to the development of civil dialogue in our country.

In response, Mr. Dassis said that as a Greek his obligation was to build a good neighbourhood relations with Bulgaria. I have very close relations with the Bulgarian society, which have started far back in collaboration with your trade unions. I gave them a substantial support in their integration into the European group of workers' organisations. My first official visit is here because I think that the current situation is not easy for developing civil dialogue and the active position of the Bulgarian ESC needs support, which is certainly constructive and specific. The civil society must oppose to the attempts for acts of nationalism and populism. I whole-heartedly thank you for the award.

During the meeting with the ESC members a common idea was adopted where the EESC together with the Bulgarian Council initiate an international public discussion for the future role of Bulgaria in the EU and euro area.

The official visit of the EESC President George Dassis began earlier in the morning with a visit to the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), where together with Prof. Lalko Dulevski he met with the Deputy Governor of the BNB Kalin Hristov. Also, Mr. Dassis visited the Museum of Banknotes and Coins in the BNB.

Today, the programme of the EESC President includes a meeting with the President of the National Assembly Tsetska Tsacheva and tomorrow it includes a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister For Demographic and Social Policy and Minister of Labour and Social Policy Ivaylo Kalfin and representatives of the academics.



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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