ATHENS — Labour and Social Affairs Minister Kostis Hatzidakis met on Thursday morning with the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, who is paying an official visit to Greece.
After the meeting, Schmit said: "I am very happy to be in Greece at an important moment and I met with Labour Minister Kostis Hatzidakis and Deputy Labour Ministers Domna Michailidou, Panagiotis Tsakloglou and Maria Syregela.
"We talked about a series of social programmes, for which we are working together and analysed all the different aspects of the cooperation between the European Commission and the Greek government, a very positive and constructive cooperation."
The Commissioner noted that the planning of new programmes, which will be co-financed by the European Social Fund, is now beginning. He said that he agreed with the priorities set by the Greek government, such as the fight against youth unemployment – which is also a top priority for the Commission – and labour market reforms in the light of the changes taking place in economies in the context of the green transition and the digital transformation, as well as the need to develop the skills that will give everyone the opportunity to get a quality job.
On his part, Hatzidakis said: "We spoke with the European Commissioner about the whole agenda of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, about our policy in the labour market, in social security, in social protection.
"Our policy aims to adopt a modern European approach in all areas related to our ministry. We do not need to reinvent the wheel nor can we remain captive to populism. Advanced European countries have shown the way. This is what we are trying to do and this is what we did with the law on labour protection, with the insurance reform for the younger generation and this is what we will do very soon with the bill for upgrading social protection. We try to do this with the funds allocated to us by the new NSRF and the Recovery Fund, as absorbing them only is not enough, but we need to use them to the maximum effect for the benefit of employees and the unemployed.
"Our 'credo' is that there can be no social protection without an economy that functions and grows, and therefore without entrepreneurship, but also that there can be no economy that thrives without social protection," he said.