The Minister of Labour and Social Justice, Marius Budăi, attended, at the invitation of the European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility, Marianne Thyssen, the 4th Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) Ministerial Conference on Employment and Labour, attended by the Ministers of Labour and Employment from the European Union and the Mediterranean region.
The event, organised under the co-presidency of the European Union and of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, was held during the 2nd and the 3rd of April 2019, in Portugal, at Cascais.
The first day was dedicated to the conference on the topic ”Jobs, skills and opportunities for all”, a forum with four discussion sessions on the main challenges on the labour market in the Mediterranean region, aimed at identifying ways to create inclusive labour markets which provide opportunities for all, especially for young people and women.
In his speech delivered during the first session – “More and better jobs: Employment creation and entrepreneurship”, minister Marius Budăi stated that, although the challenges faced by the countries of the Union for the Mediterranean are diverse and often specific, there are still a multitude of similar aspects and a series of common challenges, the internal efforts in many countries being focused on accelerating the process of economic development and increasing the available employment opportunities.
“In this regard, we support the cooperation processes developed within the Union for the Mediterranean and the efforts to identify sustainable solutions for labour market integration of persons belonging to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups” – stated the Romanian Minister of Labour.
On this occasion, Marius Budăi presented the national policies and programmes for employment and for increasing social inclusion, and also for supporting the sustainable economic growth, dedicated to both young NEETs, the unemployed, the persons aged over 45 years or those without qualifications, or women who need support for professional reintegration, and those wishing to become entrepreneurs.
Romania’s position was appreciated since we register the smallest gender pay gap, of only 3.5%, down from 5.2% in 2018, compared to 15% the European Union average. An example of good practices in this regard was also the StartUp Nation programme, where 47% of applicants are women.
On the second day of the meeting a ”Ministerial Declaration” was adopted, recommending the national authorities to develop strategies tailored to the needs identified, focusing on increasing employment opportunities in line with the principles of decent work promoted by the International Labour Organization, and also on increasing the skills of the available labour force.
Thus, the document sets the framework for cooperation for the years to come, focusing the efforts on four priority directions for action:
- Supporting decent job creation and entrepreneurship;
- Mobilising public and private stakeholders to create partnerships and synergies;
- Building inclusive labour markets to integrate potentially vulnerable and disadvantaged groups;
- Investing in quality education systems and training, skills and employability in a changing world of work.
In practical terms, the Ministerial Declaration supports the continuation and strengthening of efforts and approaches at regional level agreed during the previous reunions of the UfM (Marrakesh 2008, Brussels 2010 and Jordan 2016).
Minister Marius Budăi reconfirmed, during the discussions, “Romania’s support to strengthen the processes aimed at improving the exchange of experiences and good practices with partner countries on topics related to employment, as well as to identify efficient measures of response to the challenges they are facing”.
„We support the continuation of the cooperation and the active involvement of the social partners and of all stakeholders for the consolidation of the results, the exchange of experiences and good practices”, added the Romanian official.
The Union for the Mediterranean is an intergovernmental Euro‑Mediterranean organization which brings together all 28 states of the European Union and 15 South-Eastern Mediterranean countries. It aims to increase regional cooperation, dialogue and implementation of projects and initiatives with a tangible impact on the citizens of the Member States, focusing on young people and women, to address the three strategic objectives of the region: stability, human development and integration.
The Union for the Mediterranean ministerial conference in Cascais brought together representatives of the public authorities and trade unions in the European Union and the South‑Eastern Mediterranean, experts from international organizations and European institutions, as well as civil society organizations.