The Mission of the Labour Market Observatory at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) studies in Sofia good practices and models of civil society assistance in the integration of long-term unemployed in the labour market. It includes representatives of the EESC from the three groups: the employers are represented by Georgi Stoev, the trade unions by - Dr. Ivan Kokalov, the group with different interests by - Prof. Dr. Lalko Dulevski.   The mission was coordinated by the Labour Market Observatory Administrator Anna Dumitrache.

One of the mission meetings was at the Economic and Social Council, where local authorities spoke, experts from the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP) and school directors. The discussion demonstrated that ESC has set a model for interaction with these institutions, which it   disseminates new knowledge, information and proposals to solve the problems of long-term unemployed. The relationship between ESC and the local government, the expert community, the business community and young people provoked the institutions to deepen their actions against unemployment. In their consultations at the regional level, in their analyses and in their positions the ESC pointed out some significant causes for long-term unemployment, and also outlined ways to overcome these causes. All participants in the conversation of the mission considered that the link ESC made in its acts between early school leaving and long-term unemployment is very timely and correct.

ESC's approach to find the link between unemployment, in particular long-term unemployment, and early school leaving is innovative, said Stella Mitsova of the Ministry of Education and Science (MES). Experts at the ministry also take into account the significant public problem of early school leaving and its consequences, such as long-term exclusion from the labour market. Stella Mitsova stressed that the joint work of ESC and MES is related to the prevention of early school leaving and started with the first act developed by ESC on the subject already in 2013 Twenty-one of ESC's recommendations expressed in many of its acts on the subject are reflected in long-term policies and the measures undertaken by the Ministry of Education and Science.  

Her words were supported by the Deputy Mayor of Samokov, Luba Klenova. She assessed ESC's activities, particularly in the fields of vocational guidance, youth employment, the fight against long-term unemployment and migration attitudes of young people as an achievement not only of ESC but also as an example of interaction between civil society and the local government. Meetings with young people at the regional level, clarifying regional employment opportunities, connecting their future careers to early career guidance have been beneficial not only to students but also to local authorities trying to solve some of the problems mentioned in discussions with local authorities and businesses. Lyuba Klenova pointed out that such interaction is also a means of combating the depopulation of small settlements.

These opinions were also expressed by the director of the National Finance and Finance Secondary School - Maya Gesheva. She identified cooperation with ESC as particularly valuable for the relationship between secondary education, vocational guidance, higher education and the professional realization of graduates of secondary education.

All participants in the discussion highlighted the role of ESC in the development of new policies and measures to overcome unemployment in general and in particular long-term unemployment and at the regional level. Representatives of the local authorities stressed that ESC's proposals and consultations are not limited to the national level. They have a markedly regional character.

The Mayor of Troyan and Deputy Chairman of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria, Donka Mihaylova, commented that in its activity particularly useful were the counselling meetings that the ESC organized in Troyan with the public, the businesses and the young people. This has played a positive role in setting up a municipal programme to combat long-term youth unemployment. It gives most serious consideration to the qualification and retraining of young people, to setting up together with the employers of vocational guidance centres who would start working with children from an early age. The Mayor of Troyan also outlined the activities of ESC in popularizing the opportunities offered by social enterprises for the employment of long-term unemployed.

Deputy Mayor of Tundzha Stancho Stavrev also distinguished the activities of ESC as the initiator of a dialogue with the local authorities on the problems of the municipalities and especially about the relation between youth unemployment, the long-term unemployment and early school leaving. He pointed out that the maximum extension of the access of children to kindergartens in small settlements is related to defining status for these establishments as "protected". Thanks to the position of ESC on this issue, the protected kindergartens are already a normative fact. According to Deputy Mayor Stavrev, it is precisely in kindergartens that the first level of socialization of children must begin, which is important for the future realization of their personality and for avoiding the risks of social isolation and unemployment.

The mission continued its meetings with other representatives of the academic community, young people, and experts. A mission report to the EESC will be made as a result of its studies in six European countries of good practice in the activity of civil society in solving the problems of long-term unemployment.



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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