Brussels, 2 July 2020

Working Group 5 online meeting

Working Group 5 on Social & Labour Policies and Social Dialogue has met for their annual meeting between 24 June and 1 July. The online format had the advantage of making two of the sessions accessible to all WG5 members and delegates.

The discussion of Working Group 5 during their policy session focused on the impact of COVID-19 on employment and labour markets in the EaP. While governments in Armenia and Azerbaijan and Moldova have taken measures to help alleviate the consequences of the crisis, such as providing financial support to entrepreneurs, Belarus has only adopted a contested decree which provides no assistance to workers outside the healthcare sector. Georgia has taken several steps to help the economy, like compensation payments for people having lost their jobs, the promotion of local production and a supplementary delay for loan repayments. Ukraine’s actions regarding the economy focus on mobilising money for unemployment benefits. Even though most governments in the EaP are taking measures to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the labour market still needs more actions to stabilise and improve it.

Stakeholders added their insights during their meeting with WG5. Magnus Berge, from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), presented recommendations on how to tackle the crisis. Strategies that help reduce the socio-economic impact should stimulate the economy, support incomes, protect the health of employees and stem from inclusive social dialogue. Andrzej Adamczyk, member of the European Economic and Social Committee’s Workers’ Group and former Director of International Affairs of the Solidarnosc trade union attended the meeting as a second speaker. He reaffirmed the importance of social dialogue and collective bargaining in regard to saving jobs. Lastly, Dominika Michalska, Chief Migration Specialist at Poland’s Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy, presented the effects of the crisis on labour migration into Poland. The restrictions imposed because of the pandemic have drastically reduced the flows of labour from the EaP into Poland. This has lead to shortages of labour in various sectors.

Looking at the future, participants agreed that a strong and sustainable recovery from the crisis will only be possible by reinforcing social dialogue and job opportunities.

Available for download

  • Online Meeting Report: EaP CSF WG5 Social & Labour Policies and Social Dialogue,  24 June – 1 July 2020