The challenges of the European labor market have been discussed by experts with young people and students in Blagoevgrad.
The European labor market enables people to look for the best place to live and work. Despite the principle of free movement, the labor market is still very fragmented – one in Greece, another in Italy, the UK. Legislation is different, and therefore the results are very different. Youth unemployment in Germany and the Czech Republic is under 6%, in Spain and Greece 40%. In the Netherlands, for example, 84% of young people work while in Bulgaria the percentage is 17. One reason for the situation is that in the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, and northern countries at all, there is a lot of flexible labor legislation and various forms of employment are very common.
This was stated by the economic analyst Lachezar Bogdanov during a discussion with students and young people on “Youth employment – the challenges of the European labor market.” The debate took place on 12 April at the American University in Blagoevgrad with the participation of Ivan Velkov , member of the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Industrial Association and Dobromir Ivanov, founder and manager of the Bulgarian Start-up Association. The organizer of the discussion is the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza” with the support of the European Parliament. In his performance, Lachezar Bogdanov also talked about the future of the labor market, which with the development of technology, computers and robots became unpredictable. According to the economic analyst, the experts do not agree whether more low-skilled or highly qualified professions will remain in the past due to the development of artificial intelligence and computers. Ivan Velkov also advocated the thesis that machines are increasingly replacing the human labor force. He is Vice President of the Sofia Municipal Council, a university lecturer and entrepreneur and has recently joined the Managing Board of the Bulgarian Industrial Association.
Over the past few years, we have witnessed how different tasks performed by an expert can be executed by machines and systems, and the role of man in all these activities is becoming more and more controlling. Nowadays, in the current context marketing, finance and all the activities that improve the working environment and thus the living environment become extremely important, said Velkov. According to him, years ago, it was not possible for anyone to work in one place and at the same time to perform a project at another place, and to watch a movie that has nothing to do with his geographic location – all these changing activities make us all choose each day what and how to do. European programs provide a framework, an environment in which everyone has unlimited opportunities to choose. These choices depend mostly on man’s motivation. “The changing environment creates new projects and new sectors in the economy,” he summed up.
In the discussion, the manager of the Bulgarian Start-up Association Dobromir Ivanov took the stand on the topic of youth employment. “What makes a person successful is not his autobiography but his character. We shape our character every day, whether we do it consciously or not,” Ivanov told the students from the American and Southwest Universities in Blagoevgrad, students from high schools and representatives of the youth structures of parties in the southern city. “We are struggling for hundreds of changes in the laws that affect the business and the economy as a whole, but without a change in our way of thinking, all this will crash, because everything depends ultimately on how people perform it,” Dobromir Ivanov said.
The lecturers also addressed the issue of the literacy of the population in Bulgaria and the worrying situation of the demographic crisis. The discussion also focused on what the government could do to ensure a good working environment and to make Bulgaria more attractive to young people. Here, the role of MEPs, who in practice form the working conditions of the EU with their decisions, was defined as extremely important. “Now there will be new elections and the newly elected representatives in the European Parliament will have the opportunity to become ambassadors of the important topics, and subsequently their contractors. Here I would like to say that I was also pleasantly impressed by MEPs from other countries, who sometimes participated in Bulgarian themes, saw where the logic was and in the context of the European objectives went into details and stated: “You have the right, we can try to do something,” said Ivan Velkov.
The debate in Blagoevgrad is the last of the planned five discussions with students, young people and people from vulnerable groups in different cities in Bulgaria. The aim of all of them is to raise awareness among young Bulgarians on certain topics related to the European Union and to pay attention to the importance of exercising the right to vote in the European elections on May 26th. The Forum in Blagoevgrad is part of the project “Europe Hears You. Vote!”, which the Bulgarian School of Politics “Dimitry Panitza ” implements with the support of the European Parliament.