On 21 June, the president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) met Jean-Claude Juncker at the Greek Economic and Social Council (OKE), in the course of the European Commission president's visit to Athens. The Commissioner for migration, Dimitris Avramopoulos, and OKE president George Vernicos were also present. Speaking at thThe OKE extraordinary plenary session gave the two presidents an opportunity to state their positions on the major challenges facing Europe, and Greece in particular, with a special focus on the reforms in Greece and on development of the welfare state and social dialogue.
Mr Dassis noted Mr Juncker's sensitivity to and concern for the social dimension of the European venture, and the importance of social justice for an equitable distribution of the burdens of fiscal adjustment and the crisis. He went on to praise Jean-Claude Juncker's contribution to the negotiations with the Greek government, stressing that he "stood by Greece, supporting it as a member of the European family: beyond financial assistance and favourable loans, the solidarity and support from the Commission, President Juncker especially, has been substantial and significant".
The EESC president also voiced his concern at the current economic and social situation in Greece, pointing out that while Greece had made visible progress in implementing the third bailout agreement, economic and social indicators – mainly unemployment but also the country's deteriorating economic fabric cause concern for the future. Lastly, he turned to social dialogue, arguing that it provides an institutional framework for creating consensus on economic and social issues, thus helping to tackle points of conflict and facilitating response to crises.
The two presidents also attended the annual General Assembly of the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises at the Athens Concert Hall, where Jean-Claude Juncker was the keynote speaker.