The first ever EU-Western Balkans Ministerial meeting on employment and social affairs is taking place in Luxembourg on 12 June, followed by a stakeholder conference on 13 June.
The Ministerial meeting on 12 June is organised jointly by the European Commission, the Romanian Presidency of the Council and the upcoming Finnish and Croatian Presidencies, and will bring together the Ministers of Employment and Social Affairs of the Western Balkans. Commissioner Thyssen will participate.
It will provide the opportunity for an exchange of experience on:
- the integration of groups underrepresented in the labour market,
- active labour market policies,
- the alignment between education and labour market needs.
On 13 June, a stakeholder conference will bring together EU institutions, government representatives, civil society and social partners to discuss their role and contribution to employment and social policy development and implementation. Director-General Joost Korte will deliver the opening remarks and the conclusions of the day.
The European Commission presented in February 2018 the Communication on "A credible enlargement perspective for an enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans". The strategy calls for reinforcing the social dimension in the Western Balkans and increasing the focus on employment and social reforms, based on the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The Commission also proposed in that Communication to hold, as of 2019, an annual EU Western Balkans Ministerial meeting on employment and social policies to exchange views.
These elements underpin the EU support to improving the economic and social situation in the Western Balkans and build on the cooperation between the EU and the region that intensified in the past four years.
Follow and join the online debate with the hashtag #EUWBSocial.