Labour Minister Yiannis Panayiotou presented measures implemented by Cyprus to better integrate Ukrainian refugees into the labour market and referred to the role that skills can play in the future reconstruction of Ukraine, during the first day of the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council, which met in its Ministers of Labour formation on Monday in Brussels.
According to Ministry press release, the main topics on the agenda were the framework for monitoring employment policies in the EU, the social and economic impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and access of Ukrainian refugees to the labour market, and the process of ratification of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment at Work.
Speaking on the issue of the participation of Ukrainian refugees in the labour market, Panayiotou referred to the measures implemented in Cyprus, citing as examples actions for the integration of Ukrainian refugees in the labour market, social support actions and Greek language learning programmes.
He also stressed the importance of training programmes and the need for recognition of professional qualifications which in the future will contribute significantly to the reconstruction effort in Ukraine which is expected to take place with the contribution of the EU.
During an intervention on employment policies, the Minister of Labour referred to the importance of green and digital skills in the context of the green and digital transition, noting the importance of the Standard Qualifications Framework.
He also mentioned that the third pillar of the Green Deal Industrial Plan proposed by the Commission, which specifically addresses skills development, is a key priority for the Ministry of Labour.
Panayiotou further stressed the importance of the European Year of Skills 2023, for which an Action Plan is currently being developed by the Cypriot government, including a series of targeted initiatives.
Regarding the next steps for the adoption of a decision authorising Member States to ratify ILO Convention 190, the Minister said that Cyprus wishes to proceed with the ratification as soon as possible because it recognises the importance of the Convention and agrees with its content.
Panayiotou also had a bilateral meeting with European Commission Vice-President and Commissioner for Democracy and Demography, Dubravka Šuica, focusing on current demographic challenges and priorities in relation to the labour market. The Minister also had meetings with counterparts from other member states and EU officials.