ESC - The Economic and Social Council of the Republic of Bulgaria
- Lalko Dulevski
- Anton Lazarov
The Economic and Social Council (ESC) was established under the Law for the Economic and Social Council, enforced in 2001. The ESC has started functioning at the end of 2003. The ESC is an independent consultative body, funded by the state budget, for expressing the will and interests of the organised civil society. It is a forum for consultation on economic and social policies and for promoting the participation of the civil society organisations in the economic and social life in the country.
The Economic and Social Council (ESC) is a permanent institutional form of the civil and social dialogue between the President of the Republic, the Parliament and the Council of Ministers and the civil society organisations dealing with the major economic and social issues in the country. The ESC, as a public body, is aimed at expressing interests and will of different civil society organisations, by applying the social dialogue approach.
The aim of the Council is to provide the participation of a wide circle of civil society representatives in the public and economic life. The ESC should respond to the legal aspirations of the social and economic groups for expressing opinions, statements and proposals with regard to the decision making process of Bulgarian Authorities and in connection with the legislation amendments having impact on their interests.
The ESC should adopt opinions on legislation and main issues of economic and social policies. The opinions should be drawn up upon request of the President of the Republic, the President of the Parliament and the Council of Ministers, as well as on its own initiative.
The Economic and Social Council (ESC) is comprised of a President and 36 members divided into three groups.
The President is elected by the National Assembly, upon the proposal of the Council of Ministers and after a previous agreement with the groups to be represented in the Council.
The Plenary session consists in three groups:
- The first group consists of 12 members appointed by the governing bodies of the representative organisations of the employers on a national level acknowledged by the Council of Ministers under the regulations of the Labour Code.
- The second group consists of 12 members appointed by the governing bodies of the representative organizations of the workers and employees on a national level acknowledged by the Council of Ministers under the regulations of the Labour Code.
- The third group consists of 12 members representing agricultural producers, cooperatives, craftsmen, professional branches, consumers, women, ecology orgaisations, disabled people, retired people, and providers of social welfare, and two independent scientific experts dealing with economic and social policy issues, appointed by the Council of Ministers upon a proposal made by the Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism and the Minister of Labour and Social Policy.
The President and the Members of the ESC are appointed for a four year mandate.
The ESC managing bodies are the Plenary session, the President and the Presidents' Board.
The Plenary session is comprised of the President and 36 Members. The President is responsible for overall Council’s activities and is in charge of the official representation of the Council. The Presidents' Board is comprised of the President and three Vice Presidents, nominated by each one of the groups.
In compliance of the Law for the Economic and Social Council and under the Rules of procedures, Standing and Temporary Commissions have been set up. The Chairs and members of the standing commissions are elected by the Plenary session and they elaborate drafts of opinions and analyses. On carrying out their activities they are assisted by relevant experts at the administration of the Council and by external experts.
The Standing Commissions are:
- Economic Policy Commission,
- Budget, Finance, Insurance and Social Security Commission,
- Social Policy Commission,
- Labour, Income, living Standards and Industrial Relations Commission,
- International Co-operation and European Integration Commission,
- Regional Policy, Sustainability and Environment Commission.
The ESC activities are supported by the Administration managed by the Secretary-General.
The Council carries out its activity on the basis of the principles of independence, cooperation with the state bodies, equality, pluralism of the opinions and publicity. The ESC draws up and adopts:
- opinions on draft laws, national programmes and plans regarding the economic and social development;
- opinions on acts of the National Assembly regarding the economic and social development;
- opinions on strategic problems of the economic and social policies;
- resolutions on topical issues of economic and social policies and of civil society;
- analyses of the economic and social policies included in the ESC Annual Action Plan.
The ESC activities are running under the Law and in compliance of the Rules of Procedures, as well.
Standing Commissions draw up draft opinions and analyses to be approved by the Plenary sessions.
The ESC plenary sessions are opened to the public. Plenary sessions approve opinions upon request of the President of the Republic, the President of the National Assembly and the Council of Ministers. Plenary sessions approve the Rules of Procedures of the Council, the Annual Action Plan, the Annual Budget, the Annual Report of the Council. The meetings of the Plenary sessions are convened by the President or upon request of at least one third of Council’s members or of the Board.
The opinions and analyses of the Economic and Social Council are provided to the concerned public institutions and published in the official website.