Policies which promote equality in all sectors of society can substantially contribute to growth. This was the message from today’s first day of the Equality Summit 2012 (November 22 and 23) on 'Equality for Growth'. The Summit is organised by the Cyprus Presidency and the European Commission, at the Filoxenia Conference Centre in Lefkosia (Nicosia) and will be concluded tomorrow.
On behalf of the Cyprus Presidency, the Minister of Justice and Public Order, Mr. Loucas Louca, and the Minister of Labour and Social Insurance, Ms Sotiroula Charalambous, addressed the Summit. Also participating in the summit are senior official of EU Member States and the Commission, representatives of EU Equality bodies and institutions, NGOs, social partners, experts and academics.
In his opening speech, Cyprus’ the Minister of Justice noted that the economic crisis highlighted the need for stronger solidarity and social cohesion, a target which constitutes a priority for the Cyprus Presidency.
“The Cyprus Presidency puts great effort into ensuring the active participation of social partners, local authorities and the civil society in the implementation of the Europe 2020 Strategy, placing particular emphasis on the goal of the Strategy concerning employment, poverty and social exclusion and drawing on the experience of good practices at national and EU level”, Mr. Louca said.
Εquality policies in an ageing society
Given the increase in the population and the percentage of older people in the EU in light of today’s difficult socio-economic conditions, the participants looked at the situation concerning discrimination of people with disabilities and of older people in the labour market. During the discussion, it was highlighted that eliminating discriminatory attitudes and behaviours which deprive capable and skilled people of work can bring overall benefits to society and can lead to growth.
Education and legislation towards equality
A number of other significant aspects of equality, namely social inclusion, education and equality legislation have also been at the focus of discussions. The participants attempted to give complete and comprehensive answers to questions such as, what are the links between discrimination and poverty, what are the benefits of inclusive education for all and how equality policies can contribute so that skills and talents of vulnerable groups are not lost.
Furthermore, specific examples and evidence were presented to support the view that accessibility and equality policies can contribute to the fundamental goals of Europe 2020 Strategy in the fields of labour, education and social inclusion. Moreover, the necessity for the implementation of equality and accessibility legislation as a fundamental means of supporting growth policies was highlighted.
Tomorrow, the last day of the Summit, emphasis will be placed upon the economic benefits that governments, businesses and individuals can have from policies which promote the elimination of discrimination. Inter alia, presentations on how large corporations achieved more productivity, creativity and innovation, as well as even broadening their customer base, by successfully adopting inclusion strategies.
The two ministers will also deliver a concluding address at the summit’s closing ceremony.
Ministry of Justice & Public Order
Telephone: +357 22805996
Ministry of Labour & Social Insurance
Telephone: +357 22401676
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