Labour Minister Raluca Turcan in Brussels on Tuesday discussed with European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms Elisa Ferreira the issue of vulnerable people and the improvement of social services in Romania.
"I know that the dialogues of the Romanian authorities with the European institutions often seem bureaucratic exercises, of little immediate interest in 'real life', but the discussion we had today (Tuesday) with Elisa Ferreira, European Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, addressed not only the objectives, stages and planning of the ministry's processes from the perspective of accessing European funding programmes, but also the difficulties encountered in the process of reforming public systems and the immediate impact of these reforms on people. We have also addressed the issue of vulnerable people and the improvement of social services in Romania, but also the challenges that the post-pandemic transition raises in the field of occupation," Raluca Turcan wrote on Facebook.
The minister mentioned that, for Romania, the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (PNRR) is an opportunity to re-establish on a fair basis both the pension system and public sector pay, the budget allocated to these two major projects being EUR 102 million.
"We have also presented at length the investment plans for social infrastructure for children and people with disabilities undertaken by the PNRR, with a financing of EUR 100 million. An important part of our discussion has also been about how we will use European funds to support social assistance reform, i.e. the development of integrated services to actually support vulnerable groups. An example of this is the commitment that Romania has made to implement the guarantee for children, as recommended by the Commission, which will ensure access to healthcare, education, care, decent housing or adequate nutrition," Turcan said.
According to the Labour minister, in the coming period, our country will have close cooperation with the European Commission to finalise these two operational programmes which together mean around EUR 7 billion for the benefit of the most vulnerable categories.
"Another important topic that we addressed at the meeting was the opportunities created by the Fund for a Fair Transition, aimed at economic diversification of the areas affected by the climate transition and on the requalification and reintegration into the labour market of workers and jobseekers in these regions. Our concern, as the Ministry of Labour, is to support employees in these areas to remain active, and the Fund for a Fair Transition can fund specific projects for these regions. We set out to get involved, along with the Ministry of Investments and European Projects (MIPE), which manages the plans for a fair transition, in the elaboration of measures and calls for projects aimed at these areas," the official said.
"I have concluded the meeting with European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira with the confidence that Romania has not only the opportunity to make major changes in the social field thanks to the funds available, but also support from the European Commission to carry out these steps," Raluca Turcan wrote.