site.btaUPDATED Economic and Social Council Marks 20th Anniversary
A festive plenary session was held Friday on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Economic and Social Council (ESC). At a time of health, economic and political turbulence, the ESC has shown that it can be the corrector of the executive and the legislature, and deliver the truth to the citizens of the country, said ESC President Zornitsa Rusinova.
The ESC is a legally institutionalized form of organized civil society for consultation on social and economic issues with the legislature, the executive, and the presidency.
The session was attended by Prime Minister Nikolay Denkov, National Assembly Chair Rosen Zhelyazkov, ministers, ambassadors and guests.
"For 20 years, the ESC has been a place for dialogue, consensus and a crossroads of opinion. This is the model that has proven itself over the past decades and is a voice with an authoritative audience," Zhelyazkov said, adding that this is the voice that politicians listen to.
Over these years, the ESC has emerged as the most expert council with a combination of political experience, expertise, different opinions that clash in a cultural and civilized way, Prime Minister Nikolay said in his address.
Iliana Ivanova, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said in a video address that the ESC has a key role to play in the promotion and economic and social development of Bulgaria as a powerful driver of organized civil society. She pointed out that recommendations to strengthen social dialogue have been proposed very recently. "Next year during the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the EU, forty years after the establishment of the European social dialogue, the Commission will convene a new summit of the social partners and your participation would be extremely valuable," the Bulgarian Commissioner said.
On the eve of its 20th anniversary, the ESC signed a cooperation agreement with its French counterpart. The ceremony took place at the National Assembly and the document was signed by ESC President Zornitsa Rusinova and the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council of France and President of UCESIF Thierry Beaudet.
The two Councils will collaborate in promoting the institutions as a serious factor in public life and a driving force for proposals in the economic and social field in Europe. They will also support each other in promoting the role of organized civil society in next year's European elections.
During Friday's forum, a declaration was adopted reading that ESC promotes and defends the direct participation of organized civil society in decision-making processes, contributes to economic and social development and to the consolidation of democracy in Bulgaria. The ESC is an example of how dialogue and cooperation can be key to achieving balanced positions and creating successful policies and has proven that diversity of ideas is a strength, not a weakness, the declaration says.
The ESC participates in the implementation of all important reforms for the country and contributes to Bulgaria's consolidation as an active member of the EU and NATO. It is working to build a sustainable and competitive economy, to accelerate the transition to a greener, more social, and more digital Bulgaria and to prepare for inclusion in the euro area, the Schengen area and membership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
Through its opinions, resolutions and analyses, the ESC is involved in the process of policymaking for overcoming the demographic crisis and for territorial cohesion, sustainable growth of the economy and cooperation with the institutions, development and balancing of the labour market and stimulation of employment, combating inequalities and social protection, modernisation of the education, healthcare and pension systems, the anniversary declaration notes.