MCESD reform to widen social dialogue with civil society

The Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, MCESD, will be reformed to widen the social dialogue with civil society. The Cabinet last week approved the major proposals made by the social partners themselves, while the law establishing the Council will now be amended.

The amendments, which include proposals made following a consultation process in the past two and a half years, will be presented in Parliament when it meets again after the Summer recess.

Social Dialogue Minister Helena Dalli said that through the proposals, MCESD will give more voice to civil society and will implement better its consultative function.

“We are opening further and are democratizing more the council by listening to more groups, NGOs and interested groups that will be involved in issues discussed by the Council, with a bottom-up approach where you begin from the lower level upwards”, Minister Dalli said.

Interviewed by MCESD chairman John Bencini said that the plan is that the Council is changed into an entity with a more widened and effective function for social dialogue. Among the most significant changes, Mr Bencini mentioned the proposal for a reform in the structure and operation of MCESD.

“We will start working, once the law is approved, on how the EESC – the European MCESD, works on three levels. Level 1 is the working group, then comes the bureau and the plenary”.

Mr Bencino said that the social partners, including those who are not currently represented in MCESD, will be given a voice in the working group as in this level they will discuss socio-economic issues to come up with ideas and present their recommendations.

It is being proposed that the bureau will consist of experts, including also legal advisers, to consider the work of the working group; while once a month the plenary meeting is held to ratify the recommendations made in the other two levels. Mr Bencini added that the reform will increase the budget for the operation of MCESD which will be more autonomous.