Meeting of National Council on Social Inclusion
On December 11, 2015, in the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, a meeting of the National Council on Social Inclusion was held. National Alliance for Social Responsibility (NASO) is a regular member of the Council. The meeting was opened by Mr. Ivaylo Kalfin, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor and Social Policy. The agenda included a discussion on the implementation of the national strategy for reducing the number of people living in poverty by 260,000 people by the end of 2020 and also four subgoals.
Within the discussion, a review of the dynamics of the indicators of poverty and social exclusion during the last years was made. At the end of 2014, data, showing that Bulgaria is among the countries where the risk of poverty is above the EU average, were presented. Тhe poverty rate in 2014 was 21.8%, i.e. the poor people were about 1.578 million (compared to an EU average of 17.2%). In the last years, about 1/5 (20-22%) of the Bulgarian population were living at risk of poverty. Between 2008-2014, the number of people living in poverty was between 1.5 and 1.7 million. In terms of poverty, periods of increase and decrease alternate, without a clear trend of development. The most vulnerable groups are children, adults (including pensioners) over 65 years and the unemployed. This current picture shows that the levels of poverty among the groups outside the labor market are higher than the overall level of poverty in the country. Unemployment has an increasing impact on the scale and level of poverty. The educational level is directly linked to poverty among the employed people, as the highest proportion is of those who work has primary or no education at all. Poverty is concentrated among older single households, single parents with children and households with three or more children. Social transfers have a significant role in the poverty reduction and the mapping of poverty in the country demonstrates significant differences in the different living areas. During the discussion, many statements were made by various participants regarding the implementation of the strategies for reducing the number of people living in poverty, and it was commented on whether an update of measuring the relative share of poverty reduction was needed.