Representatives of the Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions of the Euro-Mediterranean region (Euromed) held their Annual Meeting on 24-25 October in Athens, Greece. The Euromed Summit is held for the 21st time as the meetings were launched by the Barcelona Declaration in 1995.

The Economic and Social Council (ESC) of Bulgaria shared its position that the fight against poverty and social exclusion must seek broad public support and partnership between state institutions, social partners and NGOs. The position was presented by the ESC member Assoc. Prof. Vera Pirimova and the ESC expert Genadi Nedelchev. The most important challenges before Bulgaria according to the ESC, which exacerbate the need for intervention of all civil society structures and which have been elaborated in various ESC were outlined by Mr. Nedelchev. Among them he highlighted policies such as ensuring access to services of general social interest related to healthcare, utilities; introduction of minimum social standards and guaranteed minimum income at adequate levels of protection; modern systems of social protection which to respond to the risks throughout one’s life.

The forum brought together more than 120 participants from over 30 countries, including countries of the Southern Neighborhood of the European Union. Among the participants were representatives of various Economic and Social Councils and Similar Institutions, employers, trade unions, a wide range of civil society organizations, representatives of governments and embassies, EU representatives, guest speakers and the media.

The meeting was opened by the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras and the final session ended with the adoption of a common declaration, which addressed issues such as promotion of legal migration, women participation in labour force and women's entrepreneurship, organised civil society and climate change, coordination of social protection systems, social and economic partners, European Neighbourhood policy and etc. Welcoming speech at the forum was made by the President of the European Economic and Social Committee Georges Dassis.

The participants at the meeting stated that the Mediterranean region was facing huge challenges such as war, terrorism, need for social and economic development and significant refugee flow. These challenges show that more than ever the European Union and the countries from the Southern Neighbourhood should cooperate closer and strengthen social dialogue in the region.



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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