Press Release – published July 2012
EU Ministers of Employment and Social Policy discussed the participatory processes and the involvement of the Social Partners, Non-Governmental Organisations and local authorities in the implementation of the “Europe 2020” Strategy, concentrating on boosting Europe’s employment, fighting poverty and social exclusion. During the Informal meeting which took place on July 12 and 13 in Lefkosia (Nicosia), the Cyprus Presidency also held a discussion on the Commission’s “Employment Package”, where it was highlighted that boosting employment is a key priority, with emphasis on quality job creation, structural reform of labour markets and investment in human capital.
Discussions showed a common understanding between the ministers, the social platform and the social partners in acknowledging of the role of the stakeholders and the need to enhance their contribution at national and regional level in developing the necessary reforms to the labour market for Europe’s economic and social prosperity. The crucial role of the social dialogue in implementing the “Europe 2020” Strategy was also reaffirmed and it was acknowledged that policies aimed at achieving the “Europe 2020” targets need to be further improved. Furthermore, the importance of social investments as a tool to support the goals set towards a job-rich recovery was acknowledged.
The knowledge of local realities a tool for 'Europe 2020' success
The Cyprus Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Ms Sotiroula Charalambous, stressed:
“Social partners, Non-Governmental Organisations and local authorities by having a thorough knowledge of the local realities, can promote targeted strategies that are directly and entwined with the strategic targets of tackling unemployment, fighting poverty and social exclusion. The contribution of all these stakeholders is fundamental in the effort for effectively addressing the challenges Europe is facing as a result of the crisis”.
The Cyprus Presidency addressed this vital issue by holding three parallel workshops chaired by Cyprus, Poland and Denmark with the participation of Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs.
The main topics of the workshops concentrated on the role of Social Partners, Non-Governmental Organisations, and local authorities regarding
boosting Europe’s employment,
fighting poverty and social exclusion and
strengthening their involvement throughout the European Semester.
The third workshop was chaired by the Cyprus Minister of Labour and Social Insurance.
"All sections of society have a key role to play not only in the monitoring and the implementation of ‘Europe 2020’ Strategy at the European level, but also in the governance of the Strategy, such as the European Semester process and the formulation of the country specific recommendations,” Ms Charalambous highlighted.
Priority to growth and job creation
During the morning of the second day, the Cyprus Presidency facilitated a special discussion on Commission’s “Employment Package” that aims to give priority to growth and job creation, recognising in parallel the importance of fiscal consolidation. The issue brought about lively debate among ministers, who supported the need to boost Europe’s employment, especially youth employment, and taking specific actions on capitalising on the prospects of three sectors of the economy, namely green economy, health and information and communication technologies. In order for the countries to capitalise on this prospect, employment and education policies need to coexist. The Cyprus Presidency will take into consideration the concessions achieved during the Informal EPSCO meeting in order to draw its Conclusions.
EU Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion Mr László Andor, the Chair of the Committee for Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament Ms Pervenche Beres, and representatives of other European institutions participated among others in the meetings.