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Prime Minister Janez Janša attends the Tripartite Social Summit

  • Former Prime Minister Janez Janša (2020 - 2022)

Today, Prime Minister Janez Janša attended the Tripartite Social Summit, which was held virtually. The summit focused on the topic of "Transforming Europe's recovery into long-term sustainable growth supporting more and better jobs".

The Tripartite Social Summit, traditionally organised a day before the October European Council meeting by the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, is attended by the leader of the country holding the presidency – this year's summit was attended by the Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Janša – and representatives of European employers and trade unions. 

Participants discussed how to achieve a successful, sustainable and socially just recovery and ensure the role of social partners in national recovery and resilience plans, as well as how to successfully navigate the climate and digital transition while preserving prosperity, competitiveness and social justice. They also sought solutions on how to ensure sustainable work (including skills, labour market policies and social security systems).

Prime Minister Janša participated in the introductory part, where he began by welcoming the Tripartite Summit, which is taking place at an important time. "Convening a summit of this kind confirms Europe's position that social dialogue is one of the fundamental values of the European Union and its member states. In the context of the commitment to strengthen the social dimension of the EU, the Slovenian Presidency particularly emphasises the importance of the European Pillar of Social Rights and its implementation as a fundamental element of the post-pandemic recovery. I am glad that this is where our focus lies," said the Prime Minister.

"Slovenia assumed its Presidency of the Council of the European Union at a time when the world was facing a pandemic which, unfortunately, is still ongoing in some EU member states, while others are on their way to recovery. The economic growth forecasts for the entire European Union and the euro area are optimistic, and we all hope that this rapid rise in energy prices will not significantly jeopardise these forecasts, even though unfortunately that always leads to higher prices for transport and logistics, as well as many products, including food," said the Prime Minister.

"The slogan of our semester is 'Together. Resilient. Europe.', meaning that by joining our forces in this recovery, we can strengthen our resilience to similar challenges in the future," said the Prime Minister. He added that the crisis caused by the pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of our societies and of the European way of life in several areas. "I believe that, overall, we have responded well to ensure that the most vulnerable groups in our societies have not been overly affected in the face of the pandemic, and we keep this in mind during the recovery efforts as well," he said.

"It is very important that the recovery period coincide with the green and digital transition. We are faced with multifaceted challenges. If we are able to find sufficiently complex answers to all these challenges, then the recovery period will not only be a time to recover and return to the pre-pandemic state, but also an opportunity to make good use of this time to do all the things that we had planned for this period anyway, even if there had been no pandemic," said the Prime Minister. He assessed that the common goal was to make the EU even stronger, more resilient and better prepared for the challenges to come.  "It is also important to carry out the green transition in the right way, because it also means a more resilient EU, less dependent on the energy sources that need to be imported. This awareness helps turn our prow in the right direction at a time of rising energy prices," said Prime Minister Janša.

"The recovery period is also a period in which we will try to make Europe more competitive," continued the Prime Minister. He recalled the discussion and conclusions from the European Social Summit during the Portuguese Presidency. "The discussion in Porto was highly useful and revolved around the key topic of lifelong learning. Lifelong learning is something that can ensure that we, as Europeans, have enough competences and enough knowledge in the future so that the green and digital transition carried out in the recovery period following the pandemic will help build a society, which will be able to sustainably tackle future challenges," explained the Prime Minister.

In this context, he believed that was important to achieve the second target of the action plan for the European Pillar of Social Rights launched in March this year, according to which at least 60% of adults would attend training programmes each year. "This target should be met. According to Eurostat, the proportion of European citizens included in lifelong learning to acquire skills is relatively modest. In the pre-crisis period, that figure was just 11%," said the Prime Minister. He added that we should take significantly more account of the protection of workers' health and safety, enshrined in the Treaties, as this is a key element of the EU economy and works for the benefit of the people.

"We are not talking here about things that are mutually exclusive, but of things that are compatible, and in the end we create a quality workplace that is accessible to the majority who have the knowledge and skills. This results in greater added value, better working conditions, which may also be a prerequisite for higher added value, but it is also an environment that not only promotes but also enables rapid innovation, research, an environment conducive to finding new solutions," said the Prime Minister. He added that the challenges we were facing required innovation and new solutions. This spirit of research should also be more present within lifelong learning programmes.

"With an emphasis on quality and sustainable work, we can create an encouraging environment for our companies. In turn, these are the conditions that need to be met for the well-being of our citizens to increase, so that we are all guaranteed a suitable level of social security and protection," stressed the Prime Minister.

He continued that the care for people, their well-being, health and the quality of life remain at the forefront of our society, which is also laid down in the Treaties and other documents. "What an important role the care for our health plays in the quality of life is something we all became more aware of and learned in this long period of fighting the epidemic," noted the Prime Minister. Concluding his opening address, he said that "in all these efforts we are putting in the recovery, the operation of all EU institutions should be permeated by the basic idea that no one should be ever left behind, that no one should be forgotten. All our future efforts should be in this direction," concluded the Prime Minister.

At the end of today's summit, Prime Minister Janša maintained that, having fought the epidemic for a year and a half, cooperation is all the more important. "I call on everyone to work together and make wise use of the instruments proposed by the European Commission," urged the Prime Minister. "We have to cooperate to overcome the issues we will encounter in the future. Only if we work together, can we carry on with the recovery, we can complete the green and digital transition. All this should be joined by lifelong learning," said the Slovenian Prime Minister. He concluded that together we can be strong enough "to maintain the pace of recovery, to complete the green transition, and to preserve the European way of life and the things we value most for future generations as well."

The Tripartite Social Summit is a forum for dialogue between the EU institutions and the European social partners at top management level. Employment ministers from the presidency country (Slovenia) and the two upcoming presidency countries (France and Czech Republic) as well as the representative of social partners from these countries were invited to attend the summit. The summit was also attended by European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit.