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EU ministers discussed social and employment consequences of COVID-19

Met dank overgenomen van Kroatisch voorzitterschap Europese Unie 1e helft 2020 (Kroatisch voorzitterschap), gepubliceerd op donderdag 19 maart 2020.

At the initiative of the Croatian Presidency, a high-level video conference was held on the social and employment consequences of COVID-19. Employment and Social Ministers discussed the challenges faced by the EU and the whole world, exchanged views and shared experiences on the modalities of overcoming the effects of the crisis.

The video conference was jointly chaired by Josip Aladrović, Minister of Labour and the Pension System, and Vesna Bedeković, Minister for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy of Croatia, with the participation of European Commission’s Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis and Commissioner Nicolas Schmit.

Possible reallocation of EU funds for new ‘corona’ initiatives

Ministers exchanged experiences on implemented and planned measures to mitigate employment and social consequences of the COVID-19. Social protection and welfare measures that could reduce the negative effects of the crisis were also discussed. Participants in the video conference presented their positions and plans for a possible reallocation of EU funds for new ‘corona’ initiatives, keeping in mind the Commission's proposal on the Coronavirus Response Investment Initiative.

“Croatian Presidency has decided to have this video conference in order to exchange experiences among ministers in fighting with the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic not only in our labour markets, but our societies as well. We discussed a whole series of measures aiming at securing jobs and preserving safety and health of our workers. We are all determined to continue working together in overcoming this situation as soon as possible.”

Josip Aladrović, Minister of Labour and the Pension System of Croatia

Several Member States have already taken far-reaching measures to limit the spread of the virus through social distancing. In many countries, schools, universities, cultural institutions, restaurants and bars are temporarily closed.

Small and medium-sized enterprises significantly affected

The European economy is significantly affected, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, self-employed and the ones employed in non-standard forms of occupation. All these changes, with the health and other consequences of the spread of Covid - 19, have a significant impact on our citizens.

“It is especially important to, as we all agreed, as much as possible, protect all our citizens, especially the more vulnerable ones and the ones more severely affected by this crisis. This conference should be an example of good practice in sharing information and providing a coordinated response at EU level. In these challenging times, our task is to find appropriate solutions, but also to act in a coordinated, determined, responsible and united manner."

Vesna Bedeković, Minister for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy of Croatia

The importance of protecting all EU citizens, especially those more vulnerable and severely affected by the crisis, was stressed at the video conference. It is necessary, among other things, to enable working parents to find appropriate childcare solutions. Also, senior citizens, who are a particularly vulnerable group, need to be given appropriate help and protection.

In order to overcome challenges, continuing the cooperation and sharing of information at EU level is of great importance.

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