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Varga, Thyssen discuss European Pillar of Social Rights

Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga discussed questions related to the European Pillar of Social Rights and employment at a meeting with Marianne Thyssen, European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labor Mobility, in Budapest on Thursday, state wire service MTI reported.

Consultations on the Pillar of Social Rights, which was conceived as a reference framework to screen the employment and social performance of participating European Union member states, wound up in January. The EC will issue its proposal on the Pillar on April 28, Thyssen said after the meeting.

Varga said that Hungary, as well as most other countries in the region, must take big steps to improve competitiveness in order to adapt to social systems similar to those in Western Europe.

Varga noted that a government resolution on transforming the state fostered worker program would be published in days. The government wants to reduce the number of fostered workers in future, but will still stick to its policy of work instead of welfare when it comes to Hungarians who have little chance of joining the primary labor market, he added.

Thyssen conceded that the EC had earlier been critical of Hungaryʼs fostered worker program, but now acknowledged the authoritiesʼ efforts to redirect participants to the primary labor market.

Fostered workers are employed by the government and paid less than minimum wage to work at jobs such as street sweepers or metro ticket takers.