Deyan Kolev participates in a discussion on the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights

An online discussion on the “Action Plan for the Implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights” took place on 26 October. Nikola Schmidt – European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Denitsa Sacheva – Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Plamen Dimitrov – Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria, Miglena Angelova -Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria, Deyan Kolev – Amalipe Center and Ivanka Shalapatova – Foundation “For Our children”.

In his introductory speech, Commissioner Schmidt emphasized that the debate in Bulgaria is part of a debate he is organizing across the European Union with the ambition of approving in 2021 an Action Plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. He emphasized that the European Union should rely on smart jobs, which have high added value. This implies serious investments in education, as well as the granting of the right to continuing education to every citizen.

In his speech, Deyan Kolev, President of the Amalipe Center, stressed that the 20 principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights are a generalized and concentrated expression of the shared ambition to make the European Union not only a common market but also a union of shared values. An action plan is needed because without concrete action, these principles remain just general intentions.

Three things are needed to bring this Action Plan to real change. Firstly, serious interaction between the national and European levels is needed. The European Commission must play an active role in working with national governments. Secondly, it is necessary to provide mechanisms for reporting and monitoring of implementation, which should be related to certain sanctions for non-granting of social rights. The more serious accountability and sanctioning mechanisms that exist for macroeconomic indicators should be transferred to the field of human rights and social rights. Thirdly, the action plan needs to take special account of the impact in groups where there is a concentration of non-compliance with some of the basic principles in the European Pillar of Social Rights. Kolev gave as an example the Roma community, against which there are non-compliance with principles 3, 11, 16, 19. The worse educational, economic and health status of the Roma compared to the majority of the population in all Member States was confirmed by the study of the Agency for Basic human rights in 2016. It is complemented by the rise of nationalism and anti-Gypsyism that is observed throughout the European Union and prevents governments from taking real action to integrate the Roma. It is therefore important to have a special section in the Action Plan describing interventions in the Roma community – just as the European Social Fund regulation proposes Specific Objective 8, which targets marginalized communities such as the Roma.