by the EESC's Various Interests Group
On 6 March, the Various Interests Group held its Extraordinary meeting in Sofia, within the context of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. It was the last event of the Group under the Presidency of Luca Jahier.
Some 120 participants, including Bulgarian civil society organisations, representatives of national authorities and Group III Members gathered to discuss the topic 'Supporting Vulnerable Regions and Citizens: boosting sustainable growth and cohesion'.
The shortages related to mountainous and remote areas (unemployment, lack of social services, transport, communication and infrastructure) lead directly to depopulation and have a disproportionate effect on the most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens.
Following the performance by the Dance Group ‘Dance No Different than You’, three panels moderated by Bulgarian Group III Members were at the heart of the meeting:
- Investing in and stimulating vulnerable mountain regions (moderated by Dilyana Slavova)
- Creating opportunities and protecting the rights of vulnerable people (moderated by Diana Indjova)
- Promoting economic development and combating depopulation in non-urban regions (moderated by Bogomil Nikolov)
Keynote speeches were delivered by the Bulgarian Minister for Labour and Social Policy, Bisser Petkov, by the Chairman of the Labour, Social and Demography Committee in the 44th National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria, Hasan Ademov, by the President of the Various Interests Group, Luca Jahier, and by Lalko Dulevski, President of the Economic and Social Council of Bulgaria and Member of Group III.
The discussions focused on community-led local development, on the specific role of young people and on the importance of the social inclusion. (ih)