Demography conference in Bucharest
The insurance industry’s social partners in Europe are striving to involve the Central and Eastern European employer and employee representatives more in the European social dialogue. Consequently as part of their European Commission-financed demography project they held a workshop in Bratislava in autumn 2015 and then in May 2016 in Bucharest, they presented their jointly published demography brochure. Romania and the specific challenges it presents - the aging workforce, the marginal social and governmental support and low uptake of private retirement provision, were central to their discussions at this jointly organised conference.
It came out of the discussions that a particular challenge is to promote a constructive social partnership in regions across Europe where such traditions do not exist. This is particularly the case in the current time of great crisis in the European Union.
At the same time there is also, and in particular vis-à-vis politics, a generally critical view both on the part of the companies as well as on the part of the unions. In a civil-society structure which lacks established associations Romanian politicians have a strong position of power against which there is no organised private sector opposition. This European social partners’ observation on the relationship between civil societies and governments was received with interest by the representatives of the Romanian insurance industry.
The conference in Bucharest had two main outcomes: Discussions at European level have the potential to give impetus to establish the foundations of future social dialogues at sectoral level. However there is still a long way to go before this is achieved, particularly in Romania.