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Debating European Economy in Paris

On 23-24 November 2011 the Serbian Centre for Cooperation (SCC) Language and Culture Specialist Dragana Petkovski participated at the Paris conference "Social dialogue and industrial relations to solve the competitiveness/ solidarity equation", organized by Confrontations Europe, Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Astrid Foundation.

Within the European Economic Debates (EED) series, this event gathered more than 400 participants and 66 speakers mainly from the EU, but also China and Turkey. The programme included two intensive days of debates over the issues such as: European and Banking policy; Social and human investments; Changing finance to develop real economy; How to reinvent long-term investment in projects of public interest in Europe and so on.

The conference called for new measures with the aim of renewing European productive capacity, financing of SMEs, the European patent, e-commerce, the reform of government procurement, social and human investment in education and employment, job creation. Special attention was given to tackling the current crisis, further worsened by poor monetary policy and enormous indebtedness of certain EU member states, but also by demographic shocks in an ageing European Union.

According to Lenia Samuel, Deputy Director General of DG Employment, Social Affairs & Equal opportunities, the lack of competence in the areas of education, training and employment will be addressed and a budget of 76 billion Euros was allocated for human investment, training and education within European Social Fund. This shows high level of commitment of the EU and it should also encourage Serbian authorities to focus on full employment of human capacity, upgrading skills and providing support for young people to enter a labour market and thus decrease brain drain and strengthen our position in Europe.

Drawing lessons for Serbian citizens from this conference, Ms Petkovski called for higher proactiveness by civil society in following the ongoing activities in the EU, building dialogue with EU partners, participating in the conferences, writing projects, and sharing information about how to improve personal competitiveness as well as competitiveness of Serbian human capital in general.

“Solidarity comes hand in hand with responsibility”, as Phillipe Herzog, the founding president of Confrontations Europe, highlighted in one of his articles. Then, it is high time we became responsible and stopped paying lip service only.

The European Economic Debates resulted in a MANIFESTO to promote solidarity and integration within the Eurozone. Any further information about the MANIFESTO and its contents you can find at the following site: