High-level video conference of Employment and Social Ministers held on March 19 on the Social and Employment Consequences of COVID - 19

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On March 19 2020, at the initiative of the Croatian Presidency of the Council of EU, a high-level video conference of EU Member States' Employment and Social Ministers was held on the social and employment consequences of Covid-19. Given the challenges faced by the whole world, and especially the European Union, it was important to exchange views and share experiences on ways of overcoming the effects of the crisis in these areas.
The video conference was chaired by the Minister of Labour and the Pension System Josip Aladrović and the Minister for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, Assoc. Prof. PhD Vesna Bedeković.
At the conference, senior representatives of the European Commission - Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit - and employment and social ministers of the Member States, exchanged experiences on implemented and planned measures to mitigate the 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.
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. The European economy is significantly affected, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, self-employed and those 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.
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.
Minister Aladrović said: “The Croatian Presidency decided to hold this videoconference in order to exchange experiences among ministers in fighting 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 the safety and health of our workers. We are all determined to continue working together to overcome this situation as soon as possible.”
Minister Bedeković concluded: “We all agreed that it is particularly important to protect as much as possible all our citizens, especially the more vulnerable, and those more severely affected by this crisis. This conference is 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."

Minister Aladrović's closing remarks can be viewed HERE