In the adopted opinion on "The European Pillar of Social Rights and the Role of Organized Civil Society" the Bulgarian Economic and Social Council calls on the state institutions to exercise the full influence and authority of the EU Presidency and to focus the talks during the tripartite social summit and the European Council at the end of March this year by formulating concrete proposals to launch the process of building a European action plan with guidelines and a roadmap for implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) at the European level as well as at the level of individual Member States.
The Opinion of the ESC reviews the contents of the European Pillar of Social Rights and welcomes the consensus reached in Gothenburg to improve the balance between the economic and social dimensions of Europe's progress. ESC supports the European Commission's recommendation on the EPSR that economic and social progress is interdependent, and the creation of the EPSR is part of the efforts to build a more inclusive and sustainable growth model in Europe and to strengthen social cohesion.
ESC notes that targeted financial resources are required for the achievement of the objectives of the EPSR, both through the European structural and investment funds, in particular the European Social Fund, and through national funding. "The preservation and enlargement of the Cohesion Policy of the Union, indicates the ESC opinion, are powerful tools for achieving the objectives of the EPSR. In this regard, ESC expects the Bulgarian Presidency to press for the elaboration and adoption of an ambitious multiannual financial framework (after 2020) to provide and guarantee high growth, employment, investment in skills, innovation and infrastructure that will make it possible to overcome the challenges and improve the well-being of European citizens (social rights for all in the context of digitization, overcoming poverty and inequalities, managing mobility and migration processes, responding to climate change, etc.)".
ESC expresses the view that the transformation of the European Semester into the European Economic and Social Semester should continue in following years and the procedures should be improved, relevant documents should be supplied and progress should be assessed in accordance with the social indicators table. ESC also notes that it is necessary to supplement the National Reform Programmes, the Convergence Programmes, and the country-specific recommendations with indicators that measure progress on EPSR.
ESC also points out that the realization of the EPSR is a shared commitment of the EU and the Member States, as well as governments and the social partners, especially in the creation of a "national roadmap for the development of the EPSR" in the short term as well as in the long term. ESC stresses that the Bulgarian National EPSR Plan should contain measures and policies agreed between the social partners on all 20 EPSR rights. ESC makes a number of proposals related to the guaranteed rights of the employees, the fair working conditions and the adequate and sustainable social protection.
In its opinion, ESC welcomes the implementation of a mechanism to monitor the progress of the implementation of EPSR by each Member State using a specific set of social indicators and takes the view that such an institutional impact is beneficial because it ensures the single "upward" direction of the efforts, policies and convergence measures.
The opinion also indicates the role of organized civil society to mobilize stakeholders in the long-term process of implementing the EPSR by strengthening the public debate, providing more information to citizens, sharing good practices, expressing opinions, participating in monitoring, improving the quality of bilateral dialogue and making a concrete contribution to the content of the Bulgaria's national plan to implement the EPSR.