The International Conference of the European Center of Employers and Enterprises providing Pubic Services and Services of general interest was held in Sofia on June 1. The event was part of the programme of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It started with an assessment of the constantly changing environment in the EU, including the preparation of a EU member state (Great Britain) to exit the union and the recent problems between the EU and its overseas partner- the USA.
However, the European Union is looking ahead to the future and is trying to formulate the policies which would boost the security, the labor efficiency and the life standard of the European citizens. This can be done through the services of general interest which are divided into two main groups. The first group includes the non-economic services which are traditionally provided by the state authorities- police, judicial system, national security structures, etc. They are not subject to the EU law and have no relation to the internal market and competition, Bulgaria’s Minister of Finance Vladislav Goranov explained. Minister Goranov specified that the services of general interest are extremely important to our daily lives and are among the main factors for social and economic cohesion within the EU:
The services of general economic interest provided and organized under the internal market rules and competition in the EU are more important to us. The demand of services of general interest and the way these services are provided changed significantly in the recent years. Some services which were provided directly by the state are now often rendered by national and regional authorities and private profit or non-profit structures. The structural funds are powerful tool for state support in respect of the services of general economic interest and the non-market services-education and employment. The structural funds of the European Union aim to provide a higher quality and affordable services to the population in all spheres of public life. Several days ago the European Commission proposed legislative amendments to the union’s cohesion policy for the 2020-2027 programming period. They provide for the simplification of the measures in allocation of funds. A special emphasis in the cohesion policies is placed on social partnership and the organizations developing civil society, gender equality and the rights of the people with disabilities. Regarding the competitiveness of the European economy, it is now facing many new challenges. That is why we have to act in a new manner, Minister Goranov said.
Bulgaria’s Minister of Finance Goranov forecasted that the new multi-annual financial framework of the EU will be adopted neither during the Bulgarian, nor during the Austrian or the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union. Perhaps, it will be adopted during the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. One hundred years ago Europe was center of global economic development, but now we are only part of the global economy. However, 35% of all social expenditures are made in Europe. That is why we must act in a new way now, Minister Goranov said.
English version: Kostadin Atanasov