Zagreb - The Croatian pension system and employment policy, particularly for the young, are the topics that most interested a delegation of the European Parliamentary Employment and Social Affairs Committee which visited the Croatian Sabor on Thursday.
The EP delegation met with Silvano Hrelja, chair of the Sabor Committee for Labour, Pensions System and Social Partnership. This is the first time the EP employment committee has visited the Sabor and the first EP delegation visit since Croatia joined the European Union on July 1.
Welcoming the delegation, Parliament Speaker Josip Leko thanked the MEPs for their contribution and the EP's role during Croatia's accession process. - The European Parliament is the most open democratic institution in the EU toward Croatia which consistently advocated Croatia's membership to the EU, said Leko.
The European delegation was interested in Croatia's employment policy, particularly toward the young, where the unemployment rate of people under 25 is 51%, MP Hrelja said.
Social affairs and employment are within the jurisdiction of member states and we do not wish to make any recommendations but we can offer advice and relay the experiences of other member states, particularly in central and eastern Europe, the head of the EP delegation, Casba Ory, said, stressing that pension reforms in light of an ageing population and the fight against unemployment of the young were burning issues common to all.
He added that the EP had prepared several reports concerning these issues and that it was particularly engaged in fighting unemployment of the young and efforts to secure appropriate education, advocating that funds foreseen for this purpose in the European budget should be utilised as soon as possible. The European delegation is expected to meet with Labour Minister Mirando Mrsic and Welfare Minister Milanka Opacic later in the day.