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Wednesday, 20 March

Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă's working visit to Brussels

 

Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă attended the Tripartite Social Summit

 

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Speech by Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă at the Tripartite Social Summit

 

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Dear President of the European Council,

Dear President of the European Commission,

Dear representatives of European social partners,

 

I am honored to attend this Tripartite Social Summit.

It is an even more special occasion as today’s meeting is taking place when Romania is holding the presidency of the EU Council for the first time.

In this capacity and not only, we attach great importance to the cooperation with both EU institutions and its consultative bodies, such as the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).

I would like to point out that I am the first Prime Minister of an EU Member State holding the rotating Presidency, who presented the priorities of the Presidency within the European Economic and Social Committee.

The Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union started at a fast and sustained pace, as we were aware of the fact that we have a large number of dossiers to handle in shorter time than other Presidencies given the proximity of the European elections.

We, therefore, focused our efforts in the first part of our mandate, on the interinstitutional dialogue with the European Parliament in order to complete negotiations on as many dossiers as possible.

We have closed negotiations on 75 EU dossiers with major impact at EU level.

As you know, the motto of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union is "Cohesion, a common European value". This reflects the need to focus our efforts on reducing development gaps among Member States and on ensuring real economic convergence that would in turn generate social cohesion in all Member States.

We have succeeded, through the substantial efforts of the Presidency, supported by those of the Member States, the Commission and the European Parliament, to finalize negotiations on a number of relevant legislative proposals for attaining this objective, which will help protect and simplify the lives of European citizens, support companies and the business environment, as well as foster the social partners’ involvement in the development of social and economic policies at national and European level.

I would like to recall in this regard the political agreement with the European Parliament on the work-life balance directive, which represents a consistent progress in the Union's efforts to ensure and promote equal opportunities and gender equality in the labor market , by providing conditions to facilitate the work –life balance for all European citizens, especially women.

Greater predictibility and clarity will be ensured as regards working conditions for European workers by reaching an inter-institutional agreement regarding the Directive on transparency and predictibility of working conditions.

 An important breakthrough in the safety of our citizens and the Union as a whole is the finalization of negotiations on the Directive regarding the protection of workers from the risks related to exposure to carcinogens or mutagens at work which will help protect the health of millions of workers in the European area.

At the same time, an important step at European level in the social field was a political agreement on the Regulation establishing a European Labor Authority. Once implemented, the proposed Regulation will help facilitate free movement within the Single Market by facilitating access to relevant information on the rights and obligations of workers, employers and national administrations in cases of cross-border mobility.

The setting up of the European Labor Authority acquires at the same time a particular significance in the context of the 50th anniversary of free movement within the Union, that is also one of the points on the agenda of today’s Tripartite Social Summit.

Devoting a substantial part of today's debates to aspects of the freedom of movement is a recognition, if necessary, of the essential role that this represents for the European Union - institutions and social partners alike. The labour mobility, as a fundamental EU principle, must be backed by well-articulated mechanisms that support the European social model.

At the same time, maintaining the Diaspora’s links with the country of origin and its active engagement in the developments in the country of origin represent an important milestone in our actions, as decision- makers, from both an economic, social and also cultural perspective. I mention in this respect the fact that the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council held on March 17-18, in Bucharest, the first Ministerial meeting on Diaspora policies which facilitated the exchange of good practices among European leaders from countries with large Diaspora and experts in the field.

 We are confident that these measures taken at European level will have a positive impact on all our citizens.

At the same time, concerted efforts at national level are needed alongside measures taken at European level in order to ensure delivery of tangible results in reducing development gaps, especially in the context in which the social domain falls predominantly within the competence of the Member States.

Romania has consistently backed the need and importance of ensuring high standards of living for citizens. In this respect, in addition to the steps taken at European level, which Romania has actively and steadily supported, specific measures designed to contribute to meeting the convergence objective have been taken internally.

From this perspective, a priority of the Romanian Government was the reflection of the positive evolution of the economy - as you know, Romania is among the Member States with the highest economic growth rates - in the living standards of the citizens.

One of the measures already implemented has been to ensure adequate pay levels in key areas such as healthcare or education. The Romanian National Statistics Institute’s data indicate that these sectors recorded the highest growth rate of net income between January 2018 and January 2019, the salary rose by 36% in education and by 30% in healthcare.

The measures implemented at national level have led to substantial adjustments in the living standards of the citizens. The purchasing power has risen due to salary and pension increases over the inflation rate.

Ladies and gentlemen,

In today's European context, today's theme - "A stronger, united and future-oriented Europe" - is all the more relevant and up-to-date as our action in this period will make a decisive contribution to shaping the future of the European Union. A future that must be dedicated to the well-being of all our citizens, without any discrimination, restrictions or barriers.

The value of our action and the need to continue to act together to defend the common interests and fundamental values of the Union are milestones in our efforts to shape a more united, cohesive, efficient and closer to citizens Europe.

We are all aware of the current challenges that have an impact not only on our economies but also on our citizens. In order to ensure an adequate and sustainable response to these challenges, we must admit that the social welfare of all our citizens is based above all on economic convergence and social cohesion.

At the same time, social cohesion can be built only within a fully functional internal market, in which rules are observed and are not dilluted through unjustified protectionist measures.

We have taken important steps so far in this regard. One of the most relevant recent breakthrough is the endorsement of the European Pillar of Social Rights, a benchmark of our common action to ensure high living standards for European citizens.

However, developments in Europe reveal the existence of further challenges to which we must find a response together. The European Union and we, the political stakeholders, need to identify solutions to labor market challenges in the current socio-economic complex context to ensure a high level of competitiveness and productivity at global level.

The nature of challenges is similar for all, whether we are talking about labor shortages, the aging of the population or the persistence of youth unemployment. We need coherent policy decisions, an application of EU regulations adjusted to national situations and a better knowledge of citizens' expectations.

Furthermore, strengthening social dialogue and the engagement of social partners in the reforms aimed at labor markets and social protection systems are essential given the implications that the new labor forms are generating in economy and society.

I am sure that talks within today’s summit will contribute to advancing dialogue and the exchange of constructive ideas in the process of shaping Europe’s future.

Thank you.



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