ollowing the publication of President Juncker’s White Paper on the Future of Europe, Maltese and European trade unions and the Maltese government agree that it is of the outmost importance to address the social deficit in Europe. This is why on the 11th and 12th May, the EESC’s Workers’ Group will hold an extraordinary meeting in Malta, on the occasion of the Maltese Presidency, to discuss among others the urgent need to achieve upward convergence in terms of living and working conditions between and within EU countries.
Workers and citizens will only regain their trust in the EU if it finds and delivers concrete solutions to their problems, by providing quality jobs and full employment, equal economic and social opportunities, social protection and personal security and well-being. The EU can only have a viable future if it changes the direction of its policies by accompanying them with a strong Social Pillar.
Against this background, the first day will be devoted to the economic and social situation in the host country and the priorities and programme of the Maltese Presidency. A welcome address by Workers' Group President Gabriele Bischoff will open an important panel. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat will give a speech on the challenges for the Maltese Presidency and the results. With the Minister for the Family and Social Solidarity, Michael Farrugia, the Minister for Finance, Edward Scicluna, the Minister for Education and Employment, Evarist Bartolo, and the Minister for Tourism, Edward Zammit Lewis, we will address social and economic cohesion, the labour market situation and industrial relations in Malta and in the EU. Important contributions are also expected by Josef Bugeja, Secretary General of the General Workers Union of Malta, Josef Vella, Chief Executive Officer of the Maltese Union UĦM Voice of the Workers, Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary for the EU Presidency 2017 and EU funds, and Georges Dassis, President of the EESC.