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  • EPSCOEmployment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO)

Strengthening employment and social cohesion - European Social Fund (ESF) Launch Conference in Brussels

In his opening keynote speech at the European Social Fund (ESF) Launch Conference today (6.2.2014) in Brussels, Greek Minister of Labour, Social Security and Welfare, Ioannis Vroutsis, noted that the ESF plays a particularly important role in the new programming period, not only because it contributes to the strengthening of employment and social cohesion, but also because, during the period 2014-2020, its role is politically, socially and economically more important than ever due to the unprecedented impact of the crisis.  

The ESF will invest more than € 74 billion to support Europe’s human capital in the years to come, building the necessary bridges of solidarity that will renew the European Social Model.

The Minister of Labour said that through the effective use of these resources and the experience and knowledge acquired in the past years we will work through the current crisis and emerge as a stronger Union. However, this goal requires more efficient, smarter and targeted policies that will invest in our human capital, in social Europe, and in this framework, he added, today we have to:

•    Strengthen and deepen initiatives such as the Youth Guarantee.
•    Ensure quality jobs for the citizens of Europe.
•    Create the conditions ensuring that the Union’s human capital will not lag behind in education and skills.
•    Improve mechanisms of labour mobility.
•    Welcome the initiative of allocating 20% of the Fund’s resources and targeting them on poverty and social exclusion.
•    Work on better and more efficient public services.

Concluding his speech, Mr Vroutsis said that the Greek Presidency will work in a systematic way to bring about maximum added-value from the utilization of every EU resource, towards achieving the objectives of Europe 2020 strategy that is, increasing employment, social inclusion, social protection and solidarity. He added:

“I am optimistic. I believe that by joining forces and knowledge we can achieve our aims. In the critical months that follow up until the elections, through our actions and projects we have to convince European citizens of our intentions and renew their faith in Europe’s visions and values.  I am sure that the Greek Presidency will contribute greatly to this direction. I firmly believe that our Presidency will become the fair wind that will bring the boat called “Europe” back on course towards prosperity and growth, which is exactly what the Greek Presidency logo symbolizes”.

During the opening session, Mr. László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion also delivered a speech, while, Mrs. Pervenche Beres (chair of the Committee of the Employment and Social Affairs of the European Parliament) sent a video-message.